Distribution Roundup: Yuengling Eyes Mass.; The Heartland Heats Up

All eyes were focused on D.G. Yuengling last week as news broke that the brewery was eyeing new distribution in the New England market.

Yuengling distributes nearly 3 million barrels of beer across a 15-state footprint, but that could change next year with a return to Massachusetts, a state where it hasn’t sold beer since 1993.

Lou Romano, the director of marketing and wholesaler development at Yuengling, told Brewbound that the company had begun its initial market research in Massachusetts last week, meeting with wholesalers and retailers throughout the Bay State.

Yuengling hasn’t entered a new market since 2011, when it launched in Ohio. At the time, Yuengling chief operating officer, Dave Casinelli, told The Columbus Dispatch that the the Ohio launch was “one of the strongest entries into a market ever for the company.”

Hoping to find similar success in Ohio is New Belgium Brewing, which has come to an agreement with nine different Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors wholesalers to distribute its products throughout the state. Ohio marks 35th state that the Fort Collins, Colo.-based brewery sells its products, and the addition is consistent with the company’s stated goal of being distributed in all 50 states by 2018.

Earlier this year, Deschutes Brewery began sending its beer internationally, and will soon expand overseas sales of the brand, according to The Bend Bulletin. Offerings from the Oregon-based brewery can now be found in Thailand, Singapore and Sweden, and later this fall, Deschutes will also begin exporting to Australia and New Zealand.

It was a big couple of weeks for three Michigan-based breweries as well, the most noteworthy of which was Founders Brewing Co., which announced plans to expand its distribution footprint to include Kansas and Nebraska.

Founders, which, based on 2012 sales data published by the Brewers Association, is the country’s 29th largest brewery, has signed deals with Central States Beverage, which will distribute the brand in Kansas City, Kans., Premier-Midwest Beverage for new distribution in Omaha, Neb., and K&Z Distributing for representation in Lincoln, Neb.

Beers from another Mich.-based brewery, Bell’s Brewery, have hit retailer shelves in upstate New York. The company announced plans to begin distributing in the Empire State in August. Bell’s is working with three L. Knife & Son-owned companies: T.J. Sheehan Distributing, Tri-Valley Beverage and Craft Guild of New York.

Dark Horse Brewing of Marshall, Mich. also entered the New York market this month, according to a press release posted on BeerPulse.com. The company has signed a distribution agreement with Remarkable Liquids, which will sell the brand in Hudson Valley and Central New York. Since opening its production facility and brewpub in 2000, Dark Horse has grown beyond beer, expanding its operations to include a general store, skate shop, outdoor biergarten/concert venue, metal shop, saw mill and even a maple syrup production facility.

Making moves closer to home is Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, which will see its product migrate north in its home state of Virginia. Based in Richmond, Hardywood signed with Brown Distributing — the National Beer Wholesaler Association’s ‘Craft Beer Distributor of the Year’ in 2012 — to sell its beer throughout Arlington and other select markets in the northern area of Virginia.

Elsewhere, Rhode Island-based Foolproof Brewing Company will enter Connecticut this month with Northeast Beverage Corporation. Foolproof’s three year-round brews will be available throughout Connecticut.

A number of other small craft breweries expanded their reach in October as well:

Columbus, Ohio-based Four String Brewing Co. signed with Superior Beverage Group for distribution in central Ohio. Stamford, Conn.-based Half Full Brewery, inked a distribution agreement with Remarkable Liquids, to expand into Westchester County, New York. And Perennial Artisan Ales of St. Louis added Denver and Boulder, Colo., to its distribution footprint.

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