“Chicago Cluster” Nabs Boulevard Rights

Score another one for the Chicago Cluster.

Boulevard Brewing confirmed today that the distribution rights for its brands in the Chicago market have been sold to OneIllinois, a consortium of MillerCoors wholesalers known as the “Chicago Cluster.”

It’s the third purchase of major craft beer brand distribution rights since the start of the year for the group, which is comprised of of nine independent distributors, including Burke Beverage, Chicago Beverage Systems, Euclid Beverage, Hayes Beer Distributing Company, Chas. Herdrich and Son, Kloss Distributing, Kozol Bros, Joseph Mullarkey Distributing and Town and Country Distributors.

Mike Magoulas, Boulevard Brewing’s CEO, told Brewbound.com that OneIllinois would begin distributing Boulevard beer later this month after purchasing the rights to sell its brands from Fox Deluxe Inc.

The consortium already distributes a number of popular craft beer brands in Chicago, including the country’s three largest: Samuel Adams, Sierra Nevada and New Belgium. Last month, OneIllinois acquired the distribution rights to Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and New Holland Brewing brands from Louis Glunz Beer, Inc. Boulevard is a sizeable account — it expects to sell more than 1 million cases in its home market in 2013; in 2012 it sold 173,793 barrels.

“The ‘Cluster’ is getting pretty aggressive with bigger craft beer brands,” said Magoulas. “Our ability to go to market with the ‘Cluster’ will result in some huge volume for us.”

Boulevard, the country’s tenth largest craft brewery, said it has hired Jim DeBolt as its regional sales manager in the Greater Chicago area to help support sales initiatives. Debolt most recently served as a high end market manager for Goose Island Beer Company.

Magoulas said there are no immediate plans for Boulevard to enter new markets in 2013.

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