The Austin, Texas-based Jester King Craft Brewery today announced plans to periodically send limited supply of its beer to a number of new out-of-state markets. The Belchertown, Mass.-based Shelton Brothers Importers acted as the brewery’s “master distributor” for the most recent shipment.
It’s a partnership that’s been in the works for quite some time, according to Jester King managing partner Ron Extract, who was the VP of Sales for Shelton Brothers from 2003 until 2010.
“Shelton Brothers served as our “master distributor” with respect to this shipment, and may do so again with respect to future shipments and/or specific markets, but we’ve also dealt directly with out of state distributors and foreign importers and will likely send beer through those channels and others again in the future, as well,” said Extract. “When it makes logistical, regulatory, and/or financial sense for all parties for us to work through Shelton Brothers, we will. When it doesn’t, we won’t.”
More recently, Jester King participated in Shelton Brothers newly launched beer fest, “The Festival,” which was held June 23rd and 24th in Worcester, Mass.
Extract told Brewbound.com that the brewery sent a few additional pallets of beer to the Shelton Brothers for scattered distribution. That beer could find its way into Penn., Mass., New York, Vermont and other markets across the U.S.. He also said some beer might also find its way to Kentucky, Iowa and Nevada and other states yet to be discussed with Shelton Brothers. It will definitely be in Alabama come August 1st to celebrate Senate Bill 294 which allows for the sale of 750 mL packages.
“We aren’t making any promises of long-term, ongoing availability,” he said. “If we have beer ready to be shipped out and our distributor in Texas can’t take it right away, we will send it elsewhere. This is what has prompted a lot of our out-of-state distribution.”
And it’s not the first time Jester King has sent its beer out of the state either. The company has done small amounts of business in both California and Illinois in the past.
Extract expects the latest out-of-state shipments to arrive in certain markets over the next few weeks. Distribution will be limited to the Le Petit Prince, Wytchmaker and Noble King brands, with some of the company’s more rare offerings finding their way to special events.
“The plan is to expand the brewery capacity to 15,000 barrels,” he said. “We want to build the infrastructure so that if the market takes us to that point, we are ready. We have a lot of empty space we can work with around the brewery and there is plenty of room for expansion.”
Current brewery capacity is 2,500 barrels and Extract says the addition of three new fermentation tanks will increase fermentation by 85 percent. Another piece of the proposed expansion will be the company’s barrel program, which Extract hopes to eventually take from its current 200 oak barrels to 2,000.
“Barrel-aging is a priority for us,” he said. “We consider ourselves an authentic farmhouse brewery and we see the embracing of wild yeast and barrel aging as a big part of that so our hope is to continue growing that portion of our business.”