Weyerbacher Brewing Company’s post-bankruptcy plans include a collaboration with regional fast-food chain White Castle and several new product lines.
“We’ve got a lot of good stuff on the horizon,” chief operating officer Josh Lampe told Brewbound.
According to Lampe, Weyerbacher has teamed up with White Castle on a beer for draft inside the chains nearly 400 restaurants across its 13 state footprint, as well as for package at grocery stores in which frozen White Castle products are sold. The still-unnamed beer is expected to be the first of several releases.
“We did a pilot brew for them, a kölsch that they loved, so that’s gonna be the first beer,” Lampe said. “It goes well with burgers.”
According to a disclosure statement filed as part of Weyerbacher’s bankruptcy claim, the company’s production projections for its 30,000 barrel capacity in 2020 include a combination of its own core products (40%), contract brewing (25%), the White Castle collaboration (20%) and new small-batch brands (5%). Weyerbacher has submitted a reorganization plan and a confirmation hearing is scheduled for November 4 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Pennsylvania’s Eastern District.
Last year, Weyerbacher’s production totaled 15,500 barrels, according to production data from national trade group the Brewers Association. The company sold as much as 19,543 barrels in 2014, its most recent peak.
Although neither brand has a national presence, their footprints overlap in seven states: New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Lampe said he expects Weyerbacher, which sells beer in 24 states, to expand its distribution in order for the beer to be sold in more of the Columbus, Ohio-based burger chain’s locations.
Outside of the shared footprint, White Castle operates restaurants in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri and Nevada. The company also plans to open its first outpost in Arizona next month, according to a press release.
The Weyerbacher-White Castle collaboration isn’t the first time a beer company and fast-food chain have paired up in recent years. In December, Taco Bell and Anheuser-Busch-owned Blue Point announced the release of Big City Bell Pilsner in the taco chain’s three Cantina locations in New York City.
In addition to its White Castle collaboration, Weyerbacher plans to launch two new product lines next year.
“We’re doing some very small-batch things over the next year,” Lampe said. “We’re going to be doing an IPA every month that will just be a small-batch IPA that will be packaged in cans, but probably 200 cases.”
Weyerbacher also plans to launch new lagers on draft every two months at its taprooms in Easton and New Hope, Pennsylvania, as well as for local bars and restaurants.
“It helps our taproom, but it also helps our on-premise accounts,” Lampe said. “We love lagers. We would love the general public to love them as well. It’s one of those things that every year somebody says that lagers are gonna come back, and they haven’t yet.”