Call it the Oskar Blues effect. Since its sale to Oskar Blues Holding Co. last March, Michigan’s Perrin Brewing Company has been growing like a weed.
Volumes have increased 92 percent over last year, and $1 million of equipment investments enabled the company to eclipse 14,000 barrels of production in 2015, the company noted in a press release detailing its growth.
The strategic and financial support from Oskar Blues Holding Company, which is backed by investment from private equity firm Fireman Capital Partners, appears to be paying off too: Since the transaction, Perrin has transitioned away from a draft-only distribution model and is now projecting to be the fourth-largest craft brewery in Michigan by the end of 2016.
So how are they doing it?
After installing a canning line last July, Perrin began broader distribution of its products to off-premise locations — and it has since become one of the top-selling craft brands throughout Meijer’s Michigan locations. The company’s ‘Perrin Black’ and ‘98 Problems IPA’ offerings have ranked in the top ten SKUs in Meijer Michigan stores every week since rolling out to those accounts last year, the company said.
In order to keep up with the growth of its beer to the off-premise channel, the company installed two 150-barrel fermenters, 90-barrel and 30- barrel fermentation vessels, a 150-barrel bright beer tank and a new packaging system for 12- and 15-packs. Those improvements brought total capacity to 35,000 barrels annually, the company said, and planned fermentation tank additions will bring total capacity to more than 55,000 barrels before the end of the year.
What was once just Michigan-only distribution to 700 draft accounts now includes sales across four states — Colorado, Indiana and Ohio — and the company is currently on pace to sell as much as 30,000 barrels in 2016, it added.
“We feel that Perrin and Oskar Blues have the same mindset towards the craft industry and this partnership continues to allow us to share information and supplies with one another,” Oskar Blues founder Dale Katechis said in the release.
Not bad for Oskar Blues’ first 18 months guiding the Perrin brand. Perhaps similar growth could be on the way for popular Florida brewery Cigar City, which Oskar Blues Holding Co. purchased earlier this year? Time will tell.