Cisco Beers Head West, Company Eyes Additional Markets

A selection of beers from Cisco Brewers recently began cropping up at retail locations in Southern California and Nevada.

The Nantucket, Mass.-based beer company began sending its beer farther west in mid-March after leveraging an existing distribution arrangement with the L. Knife & Son wholesale network. Although its head office is in Kingston, Mass., the distributor recently expanded its craft operations into Montana, San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles after acquiring specialty beer wholesaler El Dorado Distributing.

Cisco’s Nicole DuPont, who manages production and distribution, said the decision to send beer over 3,000 miles away was primarily based on the company’s existing relationship with L. Knife.

“It travels on a truck with other beer brands,” she said. “It wouldn’t normally make sense to send beer so far away. With L. Knife, it was already a group that we knew and trusted. It was a natural fit.”

The initial shipment included core brands like Whale’s Tale, Sankaty Light and Grey Lady as well some of the company’s higher-end offerings in the Island Reserve Series. In Nevada, Cisco beers will be distributed by Bonanza Beverage Co.

The company is eyeing additional markets for 2013 and will begin selling beer in Arkansas later this month, through Premium Brands of Northwest Arkansas. Cisco beers are now available in 21 states (SC, NH, AR, NV, FL, CA, ME, MN, CT, PA, NY, VA, NJ, VT, MA, IL, NC, AL, DE, GA, DC) and Puerto Rico.

Cisco produced approximately 18,000 barrels of beer last year, up from 10,000 in 2011. The bulk of its production is made, under contract, at F.X. Matt Brewing Company.