RANDOLPH, MA — Year-end beer sales numbers for 2011 reaffirm the fact that the craft beer segment remains the most exciting and vibrant branch of the adult beverage industry in Massachusetts. While total beer sales in the Commonwealth declined about 1% last year, volume in the craft beer category grew by about 10%, and that classification now represents nearly 14% of all beer sold in Massachusetts.
Helping facilitate that growth, the Massachusetts Beverage Alliance (MBA) has more than doubled the number of craft breweries it represents, enabling a variety of specialty artisanal, small-batch breweries to achieve full statewide distribution.
“Craft beer drinkers love variety, the opportunity to taste-test new styles,” said Brian Murphy, MBA Director of Sales and Marketing. “and, so, as the range of offerings available in Massachusetts expands, so does consumer interest,” he added, and craft beer sales as a percentage of total beer purchases in Massachusetts remains more than 2.5 times higher than the national average.
Six new beer and cider breweries, representing more than four dozen different varieties and styles of specialty brews, have been added to the MBA roster just since March, with a seventh expected to launch later this summer. New additions come from here in Massachusetts, from Maine, Montreal and Belgium, including:
Somerville Brewing Company’s, Slumbrew, out of Somerville, MA, who’s mission is to brew unique, ingredient driven beers that challenge common notions of what a beer should taste like. Fiskdale, MA — based Pioneer Brewing Company focuses on classic American style beers using 100% US sourced ingredients, Watch City Brewing Company, of Waltham, MA a local brewpub that has been in business for 17 years and ranks # 9 on Beer Advocate’s top 50 US brewpubs & Brasserie Lefebvre of Belgium, who’s Blanche De Bruxelles represents a true classic example of a Belgian Wit beer.
Recent additions to the MBA book also include offerings from two specialty cider brewers: Fatty Bampkins, South Casco, ME, which uses six Maine grown varieties of apples, three styles of yeast, and is cured in bourbon and rye barrels; and Luk E Luk Cider, from Montreal, which produces carbonated crackling cider that is a robust 6.4% ABV.
Later this Summer will bring Rising Tide Brewing Company, of Portland, ME. Rising Tide started off as a Nano-brewery but because of demand within it’s home state and in Massachusetts, Rising Tide welcomed the arrival of its new custom-built fifteen-barrel brew house, which will bring capacity to 120 barrels per month. Rising Tide Brewing Company is a family-owned brewery that specializes in artisanal, handcrafted ales influenced by brewing traditions from around the world. Rising Tide’s beers are unfiltered, unpasteurized, and bottle conditioned.
Growth of the MBA portfolio is being recognized in the launch of a new Website, www.massbevalliance.com, which will be of particular interest to beer industry insiders but which will also highlight all of the breweries and beers represented by the Alliance. At the same time, the Alliance will need to add staff, and beer enthusiasts with an interest in career opportunities should consult the Website, as well.
The MBA distributes throughout the Commonwealth through its network of affiliates including Burke Distributing, Randolph, MA (Boston and suburbs); Atlas Distributing, Auburn, MA (Worcester and metro west communities); Merrimack Valley Distributing, Danvers, MA (North Shore); Colonial Wholesale Beverage, North Dartmouth, MA (south shore, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket); and Commercial Distributing, Westfield, MA (Greater Springfield, Northampton, Amherst and the Berkshires).
The Alliance is completely and solely dedicated to supporting the craft beer community and to ensuring that as many Bay-Staters as possible can enjoy the newest and most interesting products the industry has to offer. The five independent member distributors also represent Coors and Miller products.