Craft Brew Alliance Launches Kona Brand in 3 New States

Craft Brew Alliance today announced it will expand distribution of the Kona Brewing brand to three new states: Kentucky, Michigan and Wisconsin.

The company — which also produces the Widmer Brothers, Redhook, Omission Beer and Square Mile Cider brands — will initially sell its Longboard Lager and Big Wave Golden Ale in the new markets.

“We’re thrilled to be expanding Kona Longboard Island Lager and Big Wave Golden Ale to Kentucky, Michigan and Wisconsin,” said Robert Rentsch, the Sr. Director of Brand Marketing. “Last year at this time when we started our expansion in the Midwest, consumers were excited to enjoy a Kona brew and the Liquid Aloha spirit. We’re looking forward to brightening up this winter and bringing some Liquid Aloha to consumers in our three newest states.”

At CBA’s distributor meeting, held last October in Las Vegas, Rentsch said 2014 was “all about fueling the growth of Kona.”

At the same meeting, CBA said it planned to increase its overall marketing investment by 40 percent, a majority of which will be directed at growing the Kona brand this year. The company will look to purchase billboard space in its home markets, continue to increase its digital and social media spending and will even air television commercials in two yet-to-be-named markets.

Through Dec. 1, Chicago-based research group IRI pegged Kona Longboard Lager as the 15th largest craft brand in U.S. multi-outlets and convenience stores. Total dollar sales eclipsed $16.2 million, up 20 percent over last year. Longboard Lager and Big Wave accounted for 75 percent of Kona Brewing’s gains through Oct. 3, 2013.

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