Distribution Roundup: Footprints Broaden as Microbreweries Grow

Nearly half of the country’s 2,722 breweries make less than 15,000 barrels of beer annually, but despite the limited capacity, a number of craft beer companies are rapidly expanding their production capabilities and distribution footprints.

Lexington, Ky.-based Blue Stallion Brewing will make its first foray into retail when it begins regional distribution in February, the company announced.

The brewery, which launched just six months ago, has signed a wholesale agreement with Kentucky Eagle for draft-only distribution throughout 17 counties in central Kentucky.

“They had the resources and the plan to get us into central Kentucky the way we wanted to,” said Kore Donnelly, brewery co-owner. “We keep putting new beers out, but in the beginning we’ll be focused on the bestseller, which is the Munich Dunkel.”

Since launching in July, Blue Stallion has produced just 300 barrels. But in 2014, Donnelly expects that number to grow to over 1,000, aided by a brewery expansion. The company is currently in the process of installing a 367 sq. ft. cooler, which will triple its cold room capacity.

“Right now the size of our current cooler is the biggest production bottleneck we have,” Xavier Donnelly, brewery co-owner, wrote on Blue Stallion’s website. “Several times we’ve run into the problem of having beer ready and then having to wait a few weeks because we don’t have the room to store more kegs. That won’t be an issue any longer.”

It’s not just U.S. craft breweries that are expanding, either. Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co., of Ottawa, Canada, announced it will begin distributing across New York in March. Beau’s has inked a deal with Albany-based Remarkable Liquids, according to the Ottawa Citizen.

“We’ve had our hearts set on keeping the beer we brew within a day’s drive of the brewery,” brewery co-founder Steve Beauchesne told the Citizen. “Selling into New York state gets our beer out to more people to enjoy, but still lets us be a local brewery.”

Meanwhile, the newly-launched Sarene Craft Beer Distributors of New York has added to its roster, signing with SingleCut Beersmiths of Astoria earlier this week. Sarene will distribute the brand throughout New York’s Westchester county and the lower Hudson Valley.

Additionally, the company, which was launched earlier this month by brothers Matt and Eric Schulman, announced that it secured the distribution rights to Horseheads Brewing of Horseheads, N.Y. Sarene will sell that brand throughout the Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island.

Sarene now has a portfolio of seven brands and Matt Schulman said more could be on the way.

“[T]here are some things in flux, keep your eyes peeled for more coming soon,” he wrote in an e-mail to Brewbound.

Just a few hours south, Rivertowne Brewing of Export, Penn. has also broadened its reach beyond its home market. The company signed distribution agreements in North Carolina and New Jersey, bringing its total reach to six states, reports TribLive.

Rivertowne rolled out nearly 10,000 barrels in 2013, nearly three times what it produced in 2012, the article adds. With plenty of capacity to grow — about 53,000 barrels worth — Rivertowne hopes to produce 15,000 barrels in 2014.

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