Night Shift Brewing has brewed its last batch of beer at New Hampshire’s Smuttynose Brewing Company.
The Massachusetts-based craft brewery, which partnered with Smuttynose last November for expanded production of some of its more popular offerings, has begun contract brewing with Isle Brewers Guild (IBG) in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, following news that Smuttynose would be sold at an auction.
Night Shift, which is in need of extra capacity due to production limitations at its Everett-based craft brewery, cited Smuttynose’s uncertain future for the move.
The Boston-area brewery, which has developed a cult following for brands such as Whirlpool pale ale and Morph IPA, brewed its first batch of beer with IBG last month.
The company plans to produce more than 10,000 barrels with IBG in 2018, according to co-founder Michael Oxton. He added that Night Shift would brew twice monthly at IBG to augment production of three IPA brands — Morph, Santilli and One Hop.
“We’ve seen big volume increases for all of them,” he said. “So having IBG take some of that volume definitely allows us to get them out to more cities, more bars, more retail stores.”
Night Shift co-founder Rob Burns said kegs of the first batch of IBG-brewed Santilli arrived in Everett last week, and could ship to retailers this week.
“The batch of Santilli that came out, every person that tried it was like, ‘Holy crap. It tastes exactly like Santilli.’ First batch, nailed it,” Oxton added. “Our team has been super impressed by the quality of the equipment, the people, the QA process.”
Burns added that moving some production to IBG will allow the company to brew more Whirlpool pale ale at its Everett facility.
“Whirlpool is the brand that we think is going to grow the most this year,” Oxton said. “People just love that brand. It does really well on draft, but it also flies off the retail shelves.”
In addition to brewing at IBG, Night Shift will begin selling its beer on draft and in cans inside the facility’s on-site taproom. However, Night Shift will not be distributing beer in Rhode Island anytime soon, Burns said.
Brewing at IBG will also provide some synergies for Night Shift’s 16-month-old distribution business. IBG currently produces beer for Night Shift Distributing clients Devil’s Purse Brewing Company and Great North Aleworks. Burns said producing in the same space will allow Night Shift to potentially do mixed shipments in the future.
Meanwhile, Night Shift Distributing recently added several breweries to its 15-member portfolio, including Ghostfish Brewing (Seattle), The Tap (Massachusetts), Interboro Spirits and Ales (New York), Trophy Brewing Co. (North Carolina), Solemn Oath (Illinois) and Destihl (Illinois). Burns said he’d like to see the distribution business’ portfolio grow to about 30 diverse brands with different price points, formats and styles of products.
“We’re not trying to build a book where every brand is competing against each other,” he said.
Burns added that the company is also looking to expand its portfolio to include wine, spirits and non-alcoholic drinks.
“That’s the next evolution of the wholesaler,” he said. “If that’s where the market is shifting, we want to participate in that.”
In order to increase its delivery capacity, Night Shift Distributing has also plans to add two more delivery trucks to an existing fleet of four box trucks and a van. The distributing division has also grown to 10 salespeople and Night Shift has hired additional delivery drivers as more brands have signed on.
“Internally, we’ve seen a lot of growth in how we’re operating as a sales and delivery organization,” Oxton said.
Night Shift Distributing has also broadened its footprint, and is now making deliveries to Springfield, East Hampton, North Hampton, Hadley, Cape Cod, and Hyannis. Burns said the goal is to eventually make statewide deliveries.