Talk about timing.
Less than two weeks after Seattle’s Elysian Brewing sold to Anheuser-Busch InBev, fellow Washington-based craft brewery No-Li Brewhouse today announced the release of its first six-pack offering, “Poser.”
Here’s the dilemma: Elysian makes a popular beer, Loser, with the tagline “corporate beer still sucks.” When the deal with A-B was announced, a few slighted Elysian fans (and amateur graphic designers) immediately got to work, “trolling” the brewery’s Facebook page with photoshopped versions of the label that had replaced the “L” with a “P.”
That put the Spokane-based No-Li in a bit of a bind. The company had already developed its “Poser” brand and, when the Elysian deal occurred, it actually decided to hold off on announcing the new release.
Until today, that is. Poser will mark the first time No-Li has ever packaged a beer in 6-packs and it comes at a time when the company is preparing to build Spokane’s first independent regional brewery, Bryant said.
“We are getting closer,” he told Brewbound. “We have met with city officials a number of times and we are methodically going through what the best fit will be for No-Li and the city of Spokane.”
Specific details about the multi-million dollar expansion project are still being finalized, but the company is eyeing 30- and 50-barrel brewhouses, a new automated bottling line and space to grow its barrel-aging program. The short-term goal, Byrant said, is to build a 20,000-barrel brewery that can adequately service the Pacific Northwest region. No-Li produced 7,500 barrels of beer in 2014
“We think, given the strength of our financials, that we will be able to borrow what we need to do the project,” he said.
Knowing that a brewery expansion was on the way, No-Li made the decision to move into 6-packs, Bryant said. The company had previously only sold its beer on draft, in 4-packs and in 22 oz. bottles.
“We are trying to balance dollars per barrel, profit margin versus volume and we don’t want to be a loss leader,” he said. “We still want to be a high-end brand for our distributors and retailers but given where the market is moving, we needed a 6-pack.”
Bryant was quick to point out that the company’s 4-pack and 22 oz. bottle lineups will not overlap with 6-pack offerings. The strategy, he said, is to offer retailers a choice of which offerings, across multiple pricing tiers, best fit their respective customer bases.
“Ultimately the retailer wants to fit craft brands into a finite amount of space that will serve their customers and create dollar ring,” he said. “This gives retailers a chance to decide how they want to do business with No-Li.”
No-Li hopes to pick a location for its new brewery within the next 30 to 60 days, Bryant said.