Distribution Roundup: Startup Breweries Broaden Footprints

Over the past week, a number of small breweries inked new distribution deals aimed at strengthening each one’s home market presence.

The Black Abbey Brewing Co., based in Nashville, Tenn., came to an agreement with BountyBev that will bring its beers to the state’s Rutherford, Wilson and Sumner Counties, according to the Nashville Post.

The brewery will, however, continue to self-distribute throughout Davidson County.

“Self-distribution allows us a wonderful opportunity to grow our brand in person, forging long lasting relationships,” brewery co-founder Carl Meier told the Post.

Out west, Anaheim, Calif.-based Noble Ale Works has seen a significant amount of buzz surrounding its Tongue Tickles Double IPA, after the beer was named champion at the first-ever Los Angeles IPA Fest. Tongue Tickles has been available on draft throughout Southern California, and now the hoppy brew will be bottled for very limited distribution. How limited exactly? Less than 200 cases were sent out to stock shelves on the West Coast.

According to the LA Times, Artisan Ales, Noble Ale’s distributor said, “the bottles sold through retailers much faster than expected, and some local retailers are limiting sales to one bottle per person.”

Better get a move on.

After raising $112,000 in a crowdfunding campaign to launch its brewery, J. Wakefield Brewing, of Miami, Fla., will sign an agreement with local distributor Gold Coast, whose territories include Palm Beach, Broward, Monroe and Miami-Dade, all of which are in South Florida.

“Something about them caught my eye,” brewery founder Jonathan Wakefield told the Broward Palm Beach New Times, speaking about Gold Coast. “They have Miami Brewing Company, but no one else local.”

In the Midwest, beers from Veteran Beer Company will soon be available in the northern third of Indiana per an agreement reached with Indiana Beverage, according to LaPorte County Life.

The region, which includes more than 2,100 retail accounts, will be getting two beers from the brewery’s lineup: The Veteran and the Blonde Bomber.

MadTree Brewing is expanding just south of its Ohio border to begin distributing its Happy Amber, PsyHOPathy, and Gnarly Brown beers to Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties in Kentucky, according to the Cincinnati Business Courier.

MadTree co-owner Kenny McNutt told the Courier that a recent brewery expansion which created 267 percent more brewing capacity made the move possible.

As Brewbound reported earlier this month, Terrapin is set to expand into Louisiana in January. Also entering the Bayou State is Southern California’s The Bruery, which will bring its sour, Belgian, and farmhouse-style beers, in 750 mL bottles down south next month, as reported by the Times-Picayune.

Lastly, moving to a more litigious story, the clash between wholesalers and brewers in Massachusetts hasn’t ended yet. Local brewer like Drew Brousseau, the founder of Mayflower, wrote an op-ed for a local newspaper recently trying to raise awareness of a house bill that would make it easier for brewers to opt out of fruitless relationships with distributors.

Now, distributors are taking to the media as well. The Herald News of Fall River, Mass., published a letter to the editor written by Frank B. Sousa III, President of Colonial Wholesale Beverage, arguing that the legislation would only end up hurting “the true small craft brewers who are not able to utilize the strategic marketing expertise of the distributor to get their beer on the shelves and the consumer who will miss out on some pretty innovative brands.”

The Worcester Telegram also published an op-ed by David Fields, former president of Consolidated Beverage who said that the legislation isn’t necessary and if passed, would be bad for business as well as customers.

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