Deschutes Brewery reported today that since launching in the state on Jan. 7, it has sold more than 18,000 case equivalents to 1,800 customer accounts.
“We are thrilled by the volume results from our launch month,” Stacy Denbow, the company’s Market Expansion Manager said in a press statement. “Our exceptional beer was matched in quality by the execution level of our distributor partner, Wirtz Beverage Illinois. From product knowledge to preselling efforts, POS, event support and chain activations — it all came together resulting in one of our most successful launches to date.”
After announcing its partnership with Wirtz Beverage last October, Deschutes said it began “aggressively” preparing for a January debut. The brewery cited retailer promotions and education initiatives as key reasons for their craft brands’ initial success.
It’s not the first time a craft brewery has seen early success in a craft-savvy state either. Last August, Oskar Blues hosted what they called the “largest Chicagoland craft beer launch ever,” moving 5,000 case equivalents through its first five days in the greater Chicago market. That launch was facilitated by a different wholesale partner in Windy City Distribution. A number of craft breweries expanded their distribution into Illinois last year, including Kona Brewing, Fireman’s Brew and Great Lakes Brewing. Chicago will also soon become the home of Lagunitas Brewing’s second production facility. The company expects to begin brewing at the new location before the end of 2013.
The full press release from Deschutes Brewery is below:
CHICAGO, IL — Following its January 7 launch and market blitz, Deschutes Brewery along with distributor partner Wirtz Beverage Illinois announced today exceptional first month performance results selling more than 18,000 case equivalents to 1,800 customer accounts statewide. Additionally, more than 550 tap handles currently pour Deschutes Brewery’s premium craft ales.
“We are thrilled by the volume results from our launch month,” said Stacy Denbow, Market Expansion Manager Deschutes Brewery. “Our exceptional beer was matched in quality by the execution level of our distributor partner, Wirtz Beverage Illinois. From product knowledge to preselling efforts, POS, event support and chain activations — it all came together resulting in one of our most successful launches to date.”
Deschutes Brewery and Wirtz Beverage announced their partnership in October 2012 and immediately set off on an aggressive, statewide blitz to support the craft beer brands’ official January debut. On- and Off-premise promotions, gatekeeper educations and industry gatherings created significant market buzz and consumer fanfare while Wirtz Beverage’s dedicated craft beer team, including Master Cicerone and Level II Cicerone specialists as well as more than 100 Certified Beer Server sales consultants, ensured peak brand performance.
The market rollout was led by a collection of Deschutes Brewery’s best-selling and award-winning ales including Red Chair Northwest Pale Ale, Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Black Butte Porter and Chainbreaker White IPA, with selections changing seasonally.
“The reception of Deschutes Brewery in the marketplace has been remarkable,” said Julian Burzynski, SVP Wirtz Beverage Illinois. “Chances are you can walk into any one of your favorite establishments and find Deschutes beer. It’s remarkable and a privilege to play a role in that. We couldn’t have found a better partner to enter the beer business than Deschutes Brewery.”
Deschutes Brewery marks the first beer brand for Wirtz Beverage Illinois, the state’s oldest and most established alcohol beverage distributor. Since joining forces with Deschutes Brewery, the company continues to expand its craft beer portfolio.
“When we threw our hat into the ring, we knew we had to hit the craft beer market hard. So, we leveraged our experience and channeled a unified approach,” said Danny Wirtz, SVP Wirtz Beverage Group. “With Deschutes, we proved that not only can we do craft beer, we do it well. It’s very encouraging for what’s to come.”
About Deschutes Brewery:
Founded in 1988 as a brew pub in downtown Bend, Oregon, Deschutes Brewery is known for such brands as Black Butte Porter, its flagship brew and the nation’s number one selling craft porter, and the popular Mirror Pond Pale Ale. In addition to its original Bend pub, the brewery opened a second pub in Portland’s Pearl District in 2008. The company’s main brewing facility is located in Bend’s Old Mill District and produces approximately 250,000 barrels of beer annually for distribution in 19 states and two provinces. To find out more, visit www.DeschutesBrewery.com.
About Wirtz Beverage Illinois:
Wirtz Beverage Illinois is the state’s most established alcohol beverage distributor with operations statewide serving premium wine, spirits and craft beer brands. The company is an affiliate of Wirtz Beverage Group, one of the nation’s leading alcohol beverage distributors. With nearly $2 billion in annual sales and 3,000 employees, Wirtz Beverage Group has operations in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada and Wisconsin.