Shiner to Launch in Massachusetts

The next toehold for Gambrinus as it attempts to fill out a national distribution footprint for Shiner, its most popular brand, will be Massachusetts.

Gambrinus, the country’s fourth-largest craft brewery, will launch Shiner in the Bay State in late July, Burke Distributing’s vice president of sales, Scott Adams, confirmed to Brewbound. The Randolph, Mass.-based beer wholesaler has been appointed as the Boston distributor for the Gambrinus-owned Shiner brands.

“It’s one of the top five craft brewers in the country and we think it will resonate in Boston and cut through some of the clutter,” he said. “We are extremely excited to partner with them.”

The company will initially launch with its flagship Shiner Bock and seasonal offerings, said Adams.

“Shiner has the perception of being a pretty approachable craft brand,” he said. “Talk about a beer with real brand recognition and a sense of brewing history. Everything they represent is what want to align with.”

So where will it fit in Boston’s increasingly crowded craft marketplace — one that just played host to the much anticipated launch of Yuengling?

“We are not launching this brand to just have a great 2014 or 2015,” he said. “We are launching this brand so it can be strong in 2025 and 2035 and we are going to take the right steps to make sure the brand is around for another 100 years in Boston.”

Initially, Adams said, Burke will target a younger demographic and on-premise accounts that serve barbeque.

“The brand has obvious ties to Texas and barbeque, so that is an obvious first target,” he said. “Boston has a high index of on-premise accounts and influx of new drinkers with our college population. I think Shiner will play well up and down the street in this market.”

In an effort to take the Shiner brand to all 50 states before the end of the year, Gambrinus is reportedly also working to appoint wholesalers in Hawaii, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont and the company recently launched in Rhode Island and Connecticut.

Gambrinus representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment and additional information surrounding Massachusetts wholesaler appointments, but Brewbound has confirmed that Atlas Distributing and Merrimack Valley Distributing are among those who have secured the distribution rights to Shiner.

Gambrinus produced more than 645,000 barrels of beer in 2013, about 570,000 of which were Shiner offerings.

Dollar sales for Gambrinus were up 10.1 percent through June 15, according to IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm. Sales of Shiner Bock were up 12.8 percent during the same period.