Cans Propel Allagash Brewing to More Than 100,000 Barrels in 2019

Allagash Brewing Company estimates its sales volume surpassed the 100,000-barrel mark in 2019, due to packaging its flagship Allagash White and River Trip session ale in cans for the first time.

“A huge chunk of our growth has come through cans this year,” Allagash sales director Naomi Neville told Brewbound. “And we only had 16 oz. 4-packs of cans in two different brands, so it’s not like we started with a lot of different versions of cans.”

After a successful regional introduction in 2019, the Portland, Maine-based craft brewery announced today plans to expand distribution of its canned offerings to additional markets and the addition of 12-packs.

After rolling out Allagash White and River Trip 4-packs of 16 oz. cans in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey and New York in the spring, and then adding Virginia, Illinois and Washington, D.C., in the fall, those offerings will now be sold throughout Allagash’s 17-state footprint by February 2020.

California, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina will receive the can packs in January, with mid-Atlantic states of Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania receiving them in February.

Also in February, Allagash will begin selling Allagash White in 12-packs of 12 oz. cans in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

“It’s just opened up a lot of doors for us, places we’ve never been before,” Neville told Brewbound. “Hopefully, the 12-pack will get more space in the coolers now that the 16 oz. cans have proven themselves.”

Neville, citing data from market research firm IRI, added that Allagash White cans are the No. 1 selling new item in the craft beer category in the Northeast.

“We’re even in the top 10 when you don’t just account for craft, and you know there’s a lot of seltzer in that top 10,” she said.

Neville estimated that Allagash has sold more than 9,000 barrels of its canned offerings in 2019, pushing the brewery’s volume across the 100,000-barrel threshold for the first time.

Allagash is the 30th-largest craft brewery in the country, according to not-for-profit trade group the Brewers Association (BA).

In 2018, Allagash produced 96,140 barrels of beer, up 1% from 2017 when the company produced 94,742 barrels. Allagash’s volume growth flattened in the low-single-digits in recent years after double-digit growth in 2016 (+11%) and 2015 (+18%). Neville attributed much of that growth to Allagash White.

“White is such a huge part of our business, and it’s continued to grow throughout those years,” she said.

In addition to adding 12-packs of 12 oz. cans for flagship Allagash White, the company plans to release its specialty beers in cans throughout its footprint, starting in March with Crosspath, a Belgian-style golden ale brewed with granola from Maine’s GrandyOats.

“That is super exciting for us, because that’s our first organic beer,” Neville said.

Allagash will also add a Maine-exclusive beer, Sixteen Counties, an ale brewed with malts grown in the state, in 16 oz. 4-packs to its yearound can lineup.

Allagash is among the last large, regional craft breweries to add can packaging. The company released its first offering, Hoppy Table Beer, in April 2018 after installing a small canning line.

According to Neville, the new packaging option has led some Allagash consumers to trade bottle purchases for cans during the summer months.

“We saw a huge switch in the summer from bottles to cans,” she said.

Although Allagash has no plans to enter new states in 2020, the company will expand its distribution in Pennsylvania to cover the western half of the state.

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