Oskar Blues to Begin Distribution in Chicago

The Longmont, Colo. based craft brewer Oskar Blues inked a distribution agreement today with Windy City Distribution, the Warrenville, Ill. based craft-centric wholesaler which already distributes other Colorado brands like Avery Brewing Company, Ska Brewing Company, Boulder Beer, Left Hand Brewing Co. and Great Divide Brewing Company.

“Their experience is very attractive to what we are trying to accomplish,” said Brewery spokesperson Chad Melis. “They are a craft house. It’s what they do and what they know.”

Melis said Oskar Blues continued infrastructure investments have allowed them to continue penetrating key craft markets like Chicago. The company most recently began distributing brewery founder Dale Katechis’ home state of Alabama.

“Alabama and Chicago will be our two new markets this year,” said Melis. “We are going to continue focused on brewing beer in North Carolina by the end of 2012.”

In May, the company announced plans to build a second 30,000 sq. ft. facility in Brevard, N.C., just 34 miles south of Asheville where New Belgium and Sierra Nevada will also be building secondary facilities. Oskar Blues’ facility is scheduled to commence brewing in December and Melis confirmed that various brewery officials are currently in the area working out logistics.

Melis also told Brewbound.com that the company has added 14 new 200-barrel fermenters and a 400-barrel bright beer tank at its Longmont facility, aiding in the expanded distribution as of late.

“We are still projecting over 90,000 barrels this year,” he said.

That’s up from 59,000 barrels in 2011.

Melis said that entering the Chicago market made sense because the company already distributes in neighboring Wisconsin.

“It was a natural fit for us,” he said. “We already have a truck going in that direction and we have been getting a ton of positive feedback from Chicago. There has been a good buzz and vibe in the air.”

Illinois marks the 27th state Oskar Blues offerings are sold. The company has set a target launch date of August 20th.

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