Distribution Roundup: Craft Brewers Push Into New Markets

The list of craft breweries expanding their distribution footprints is growing.

Last month, a number of notable craft beer companies — like Delaware’s Dogfish Head and Michigan’s Bell’s Brewery — announced new wholesale agreements and this month, a few more noteworthy craft beer companies joined the list.

New Belgium Brewing recently announced plans to begin distributing in Delaware and also signed a new agreement with Beerthirst, a Vancouver, B.C.-based importer of craft beer. For the first time in its history, New Belgium products will be made available beyond U.S. borders. Fat Tire, Ranger IPA and other seasonal offerings will roll out in Canada on September 6. Limited release beers from the Lips of Faith, Hop Kitchen and Trip series’ as well as Rampant Imperial IPA will launch 90 days later.

Meanwhile, back on U.S. soil, a pair of breweries announced new distribution agreements in the South. Sweetwater Brewery will begin distributing in Kentucky, through Kentucky Eagle Distributors and Victory Brewing Company will enter its 30th state, Alabama, with three different wholesalers.

Taking the Victory brand statewide by the end of August are distributors Allstate Beverage Company, of Montgomery, AL; Gulf Distributing Company of Mobile, AL; and International Wines & Craft Beer, of Birmingham, AL. The Pennsylvania-based beer company will launch in the Alabama market with its core brands—HopDevil IPA, Headwaters Pale Ale, Prima Pils and Golden Monkey—and look to add their strong seasonal lineup over time.

Farther East, two canning craft beer companies announced expansions into Maryland. Pennsylvania’s Sly Fox Brewing and Washington D.C.’s ‘DC Brau’ began selling beer in the state this month. Sly Fox has signed with Bond Distributing for distribution in Baltimore, Howard, Carroll, Harford and Cecil counties and is already considering expansion into other parts of the state.

And out West, a number of California-based craft brewers are broadening their reach. San Diego-based Green Flash Brewing expanded into the Pacific Northwest with Great Artisan Beverage and also began distributing in Indiana with World Class Beer. Nearby Ballast Point Brewing also announced plans to extend distribution to Georgia, with United Distributing. They plan to launch in the fall.

Finally, Paso Robles, Calif.-based Firestone Walker — which launched in the Austin and Dallas markets earlier this year — will expand its reach in Texas. The company has signed with Silver Eagle Distributors, an Anheuser-Busch wholesaler, in Houston and San Antonio.

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