Like so many other small U.S. producers, Seattle’s Fremont Brewing is at a crossroads. On the verge of opening a second brewing facility that will eventually enable the company to produce upwards of 250,000 barrels, and flush with interest from distributors around the U.S., brewery founder Matt Lincecum has two options: step on the gas pedal and expand distribution nationwide, or grow in a more controlled fashion, methodically building out distribution into contiguous markets.
Fremont, which has expanded distribution into Idaho, just the third market where its products are sold statewide, produced only 24,000 barrels in 2015. Lincecum is planning to more than double that in 2016 and expects production to grow to about 60,000 barrels. But he’s not planning on entering more markets to get there.
“The way I like our business to grow is to go deep rather than wide,” he told Brewbound.
It’s a philosophy that has permeated the business since its inception. Until last November, when Fremont signed a contract with Columbia Distributing for coverage throughout Oregon, its products were sold almost exclusively in Washington. Limited shipments were sometimes made to Northern Idaho and Denver, where the company had placements at a handful of accounts.
“It’s a relatively small amount of beer but it’s done in the right way,” Lincecum said.
Lincecum is excited about his company’s latest market entries, but he still maintains a tight grip on how far and how fast the company moves away from home — he firmly believes that concentric growth and strong relationships with wholesalers will build Fremont into a successful generational business.
“It’s based on relationships, and relationships take time,” he said. “As an organization, it just takes time to uphold your name and build a sense of integrity.”
For that reason, Lincecum says Fremont Brewing is not planning to add any additional markets in 2016, even as the company begins shifting a majority of production into the new $8 million, 80,000 sq. ft. brewery.
“This year we’re going to continue to invest and execute in Oregon, Idaho, Washington and Colorado,” he said. “My whole goal is to manage this new transition to our new brewery.”
Currently under construction, the new facility gives Fremont five times more production capacity than its current 45,000 barrel operation, but Lincecum doesn’t expect the company to scale up that quickly.
Citing data from market research firm IRI Worldwide, Lincecum noted that his company’s Interurban IPA was the 7th best selling U.S. canned craft beer in 2015, and the best selling canned craft six-pack in Washington. Fremont also grew production by 30 percent in 2015.
“We’re gonna keep on keeping on,” he said. “[We’ll] continue to do what we do, but do it better. There’s no other magic than that.”
Fremont Brewing will kick off its Idaho distribution next week and a number of launch events are planned throughout the state. A full press release with additional details is included below.
SEATTLE — Fremont Brewing of Seattle, Washington has teamed up with Boise-based Hayden Beverage Company for statewide distribution in Idaho. To celebrate their partnership, Fremont Brewing and Hayden Beverage will host several launch events in Boise and throughout Southern Idaho. Events in North Idaho will roll out in March.
The series of launch events will begin on February 15th, 5:00 pm at 13th St. Pub and Grill, 1520 N. 13th St., Boise, ID 83702, featuring several of Fremont’s most sought-after brews. Members of the craft beer community are invited to taste their beer and meet the Fremont and Hayden teams.
Additional launch events are listed on Fremont Brewing’s events page and include:
- Monday, Feb. 15, 6:00 pm: Anchor Bar, 334 Blue Lakes Blvd N., Twin Falls, 83301
- Monday, Feb. 15, 6:00 pm: Hooligans, 122 N. 3rd Ave, Pocatello, 83201
- Tuesday, Feb. 16, 5:00 pm: Twisted Timbers, 4563 S. Cloverdale Rd, Boise, 83709
- Tuesday, Feb. 16, 5:00 pm: Bier: Thirty Bottle & Bistro, 3073 S. Bown Way, Boise, 83706
- Tuesday, Feb. 16, 6:00 pm: Lefty’s, 231 6th St E., Ketchum, 83340
- Tuesday, Feb. 16, 6:00 pm: MarCellar’s Vintage Wines & Brews, 431 Park Ave, Idaho Falls, 83402
- Wednesday, Feb. 17, 6:00 pm: Whole Foods River Room, 201 S. Broadway Ave, Boise, 83703
- Wednesday, Feb. 17, 6:00 pm: Pre-Funk Beer Bar, 1100 W. Front St, Boise, 83702
The Seattle-based brewery and taproom was founded in 2009 by Matt Lincecum and Sara Nelson. Fremont Brewing is now the fastest-growing brewery in Washington and its Interurban IPA is WA’s leading craft beer. Other beers include Universale Pale Ale; seasonal single-hop, single grain favorite, Summer Ale; Bourbon Abominable (“BBomb”); Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star; Rusty Nail, a bourbon barrel aged beer brewed with licorice and aged on cinnamon bark before resting in 15-year old barrels for 15 months; and finally Cowiche Canyon Fresh Hop Ale, featuring Fremont’s exclusive Cowiche Canyon Citra, Simcoe and Mosaic hops. Their beers have won numerous awards such as 2 Silver medals in the 2014 Great American Beer Festival; the Gold medal in the 2016 Best of Craft Beer Awards; Bronze medals in the 2012 World Beer Cup and the 2015 Festival of Barrel Aged Beers (FoBAB); and Rate Beer’s 2015 Best Strong Ale in the World, 2015 Best Beer in Washington, and 2014 Top 100 Brewers in the World.
In addition to its reputation for consistent quality and innovation, Fremont Brewing is a recognized leader in sustainable brewing operations and community engagement. They give generously to non-profit organizations, promote the organic hop and local grain markets, and reduce their carbon footprint through conservation and green technologies. It is for these and many other initiatives that they won Washington’s Manufacturer of the Year Award in 2015 and King County’s Best Small Business Award in 2014.
“Idaho is like family to us,” said Matt Lincecum, Fremont Brewing’s Founder and Owner. “How can you say no when your family wants beer? So, we’re excited to share our beer with our brothers and sisters from another mother in the great State of Mind, Idaho!”
About Fremont Brewing
Fremont Brewing is a family-owned craft brewery founded in 2009 to brew artisan beers made with the best local ingredients we can find. Our beer is distributed in kegs, cans, and 22 oz. bottles and can be enjoyed everyday at our kid- and dog-friendly Urban Beer Garden in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. Because Beer Matters! http://www.fremontbrewing.com/welcome
About Hayden Beverage Company
Hayden Beverage is Idaho’s largest statewide distributor of beer, wine, Red Bull and premium non-alcoholic beverages. In the ever-demanding beverage industry, we depend on the strength of our brands and our employees’ relationships, work ethic, knowledge, and creativity to maintain our competitive advantage. We are proud to be family owned and operated, providing us the ability to make decisions to enhance the long-term health of our business and that of our partners. We have shown consistent growth, enabling our employees to enjoy a stable career and rewarding lifestyle. We work hard, we execute, and we have fun! http://www.haydenbeverage.com/