Shipyard and Sea Dog Re-launch in Illinois with MillerCoors’ Wholesale Network


As part of an ongoing effort to take back control of its sales and distribution responsibilities, Shipyard Brewing today announced it has re-launched in Illinois, tapping MillerCoors’ OneIllinois network for distribution of both its namesake and Sea Dog brands.

The company’s products, including top-selling Shipyard Pumpkin Ale, have been available in Illinois for the past several years, but only in limited quantities. By partnering with a statewide network of 17 wholesalers, the beer company said it hopes to increase its presence in Illinois.

“We are excited about the opportunity for growth,” said Fred Chapman, regional sales manager at Shipyard and Sea Dog. “Our new distribution network of experienced and respected distributors will better enable us to reach the craft beer lovers in the state.”

Sales of Shipyard products throughout Illinois were previously managed by Total Beverage Solutions (TBS), a South Carolina-based wholesaler and importer that had at one time served as the brewery’s master distributor in more than 30 states. Last January, however, Shipyard scaled back its relationship with TBS and retook control of sales and marketing initiatives in 15 states. At the time, TBS remained the company’s master distributor in places like Ohio, New Mexico, Louisiana and Illinois.

Lindsey Murray, a spokeswoman with Shipyard, said TBS will continue to oversee sales and distribution of both brands in “about 20 states” where the company still has a smaller presence.

OneIllinois paid “fair market value” to the Illinois wholesalers who had been previously selling Shipyard and Sea Dog beer, Murray added.

This month’s re-launch isn’t a complete overhaul. Shipyard had existing partnerships with OneIllinois members Burke Beverage, Chicago Beverage Systems, and Kozol Brothers, which will continue to sell the beer. The brand will now get plugged into the rest of the network, which is comprised of: Baumgarten Distributing, Chas. Hendrick and Son, Euclid Beverage, George A. Mueller Beer Co., Hayes Beer Distributing Co., Hayes Beer Distributing of Rockford, Joseph Mullarkey Distributors, Kloss Distributing, Koerner Distributor, Inc., Mississippi Belle Distributing, Orange & Blue Distributing, Ra-Jac Distributing, Robert Chick Fritz Distributing, and Town & Country Distributors.

It’s the second major shakeup this year for Shipyard, which in February repurchased its brand rights in Florida from Brown Distributing, and realigned with 19 different wholesalers throughout the state.

Currently the 25th largest craft brewery in the U.S., according to data published by the Brewers Association, Shipyard production lagged in 2014, down 12 percent due in large part to some of its contract partners self reporting , to 147,000 barrels. Excluding that volume from its contract partners, Shipyard produced 136,982 barrels of its own beer in 2014, Murray said.