If ever there was a race to open a second brewery on the East Coast, Oskar Blues won by a long shot.
The Longmont, Colo.-based craft brewery officially opened its second brewing facility in Brevard, N.C. last December, ahead of Sierra Nevada and New Belgium, which are also planning expansions in the Tar Heel State of their own.
The added production capabilities have helped grow the sales of Oskar Blues beers throughout the U.S. by 40 percent through October. Chad Melis, the company’s marketing director, said 2013 production totals are likely to exceed 120,000 barrels, up from 85,700 barrels last year.
What’s more impressive is that Oskar Blues has only opened one new market, Michigan, in 2013. That means a majority the company’s growth is coming from existing markets, something Melis said is an indicator of overall brand health.
“Success is having a good product, a strong brand, having fresh beer and being able to execute with feet on the street,” he said. “We have done a really good job of focusing and strengthening our sales staff in all of our existing states.”
Oskar Blues’ top performing markets include Colorado, California, North Carolina, Texas and New York, Melis said. Its flagship offering, Dale’s Pale Ale, is one of the company’s best sellers and is up 41.5 percent across all markets year-to-date.
Melis said Oskar Blues will likely enter Indiana before the end of the year and the company is eyeing a number of new expansion opportunities in 2014.
“Oskar Blues has always wanted to be aggressive and get after it,” he said. “Not holding us to a number, but we will get to a handful of new markets next year.”