The Golden Road to San Diego

Golden Road Brewing is going into North County San Diego via Markstein Beverage Company, but hasn’t yet made up its mind about the rest of the city, founder Meg Gill told Brewbound.com.

The news comes following an inaccurate report that Los Angeles Based GRB would be the first craft brand in L. Knife & Son’s new San Diego operation. The subscription based industry newsletter Beer Marketer’s Insights reported yesterday that L Knife & Son — which currently operates 17 houses in 12 states – would be opening a new craft-centric, 20,000 sq. ft. distribution outfit in San Diego this summer.

L. Knife & Son CEO Timothy Sheehan declined to comment publicly about the news.

Gill said Golden Road will launch in North County San Diego with Markstein Beverage, an Anheuser-Busch Wholesaler, on July 16th. The only craft brands Markstein currently distributes are Sierra Nevada and Hangar 24. They also distribute the Craft Brew Alliance portfolio which consists of Kona Brewing, Widmer Brothers Brewing and Redhook Brewery brands.

Gill also gave us the scoop on some new grocery partnerships coinciding with the company’s San Diego launch. Golden Road has inked deals with three major grocery chains that are looking to go “hyper-local” with the brand.

“We have seen huge success from being methodical with our retail selections and now we are implementing the strategy for bigger chains,” said Gill.

So what’s the strategy? Gill said she ranks which stores to focus on based on their proximity to the brewery and their craft viability.

“I call it the Meg Gill way of looking at chain business,” she said.

Gill implemented this strategy prior to launching in Trader Joe’s and it’s proven successful.

“We are seeing a higher rate of sales at our local Trader Joe’s than we anticipated and that the buyers anticipated,” Gill said. “We are doing more volume than some very well-established brands.”

Golden Road has also hired former Sierra Nevada national on-premise account manager Brian Dewey, who will be assuming the role as VP of Sales for GRB.

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