Wirtz Beverage Illinois Signs Missouri’s 4 Hands Brewing Co.

Heading north up I-55 from its St. Louis home, 4 Hands Brewing Co. is blowing into the Windy City in 2014, bringing seven of its beers to Chicago, per an agreement with Wirtz Beverage of Illinois.

A wide variety from the brewery’s core, seasonal, imperial, and wood-aged beers will be available on draft at bars and restaurants in the Chicago Metro area come January, while packaged brews are set to line store shelves by February.

In September, 4 Hands announced the addition of two 60-barrel fermentation vessels. Four more fermentation tanks are expected to arrive in January, which will bring the brewery’s capacity to 13,000 barrels, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

4 Hands is the sixth craft brand to join the distributor’s recently created craft beer division in Illinois. In December of 2012, Wirtz announced its appointment of three craft beer specialists as well as a dedicated Craft Beer team to coincide with its new partnership with Deschutes Brewery. Following the successful rollout of the Deschutes brand, Wirtz inked distribution agreements with BuckleDown Brewing, Ballast Point, Vanberg & DeWulf and Une Année, which all expanded into Illinois this year.

Wirtz Beverage Group, according to its website, hauls nearly $2 billion in annual sales from operations in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada and Wisconsin.

“Chicago is an exciting market and is leading the way for many craft beer trends and a lot of that is due to the talent here,” Kevin Lemp, the founder of 4 Hands said in a press statement.

The full press release is below:

Chicago, IL — Craft beer enthusiasts in the Chicagoland area will soon have new artisanal ales to sip and savor as a result of a partnership between Missouri-based producer, 4 Hands Brewing Co., and Illinois’ leading wholesale distributor, Wirtz Beverage. 4 Hands’ IPAs, stouts, porters, pale and amber ales become available on draft at bars and restaurants beginning January 2014. Packaged product will appear on store shelves by February.

“This is the first time consumers in the Chicago area can get their hands on a 4 Hands beer. We’re really excited about that,” said David Kahle, Craft Beer Manager at Wirtz Beverage Illinois. “4 Hands brings something new to the table. They have a great creative spirit and they’re constantly pushing the envelope which is why their portfolio is so interesting and diverse.”

Started in 2011, 4 Hands Brewing Co. boasts a portfolio of twenty handmade, barrel-aged beers with more collaborations and original selections in the works. Together, the company’s founder, Kevin Lemp, and head brew master, Will Johnston, have more than 25 years’ experience. The duo’s expertise has combined to create unique and quality ales, earning 4 Hands the distinction of being named a “Brewery to Watch” by Draft Magazine.

“Chicago is an exciting market and is leading the way for many craft beer trends and a lot of that is due to the talent here,” said Kevin Lemp, Founder of 4 Hands Brewing Co. “Wirtz Beverage has compiled a team with top pedigrees. They know beer and they’re bringing the best-of-the-best to market. We’re proud to be part of that.”

Under the new agreement, Wirtz Beverage Illinois will market and distribute seven brands within the 4 Hands portfolio to customers in Chicago Metro and surrounding areas. Since 2013, Wirtz Beverage has strategically expanded within the craft beer marketplace led by a team of revered craft beer talent. Come January, that team will help launch and support the following 4 Hands Brewing Co. brands:

┬À DIVIDED SKY RYE IPA — This beer is packed with hops and rye producing a slightly spicy flavor with notes of tangerine, grapefruit and pine and a full mouth-feel.

┬À REPRISE CENTENNIAL RED — Reprise pushes the limits of a single hop with bouquet and bitterness. Its citrus character unfolds with aromas of fruit and biscuit malt.

┬À CAST IRON OATMEAL BROWN — Roasted barley and loads of chocolate malt give this beer its cast iron backbone. In addition to oatmeal, aromas of dark chocolate and coffee pack this flavorful ale.

┬À CHOCOLATE MILK STOUT — Brewed with cacao nibs, this beer boasts dark chocolate, chocolate malt and even more chocolate aromas. Its velvety mouth-feel makes it a perfect winter libation.

┬À BONA FIDE IMPERIAL STOUT — This big, bold stout has a smooth mouth-feel with aromas of espresso, dark chocolate, roasted malt and vanilla nuances.

┬À CUVEE ANGE — Produced in French Oak wine barrels containing Cabernet, Merlot, Grenache along with raspberries and blackberries, Cuvee Ange is fruity, slightly tart and complex with aromas of fruit and wood.

┬À SMOKED PIGASUS — Robust and delicious, this porter is brewed with rye, smoked malt and maple syrup providing a perfect balance. Aromas of chocolate, smoke and caramel are the finishing touch.

About 4 Hands Brewing Company

Inspired by the American craft beer movement, 4 Hands Brewing Company pushes the limits of creativity. Using wine and spirit barrels in the production process, the company’s barrel-aging program produces unique beers with bold flavors. 4 Hands Brewing Company began in 2011 and is based in St. Louis, Missouri. To learn more about 4 Hands Brewing Company, visit its website at www.4handsbrewery.com.

About Wirtz Beverage Illinois

Wirtz Beverage Illinois is the state’s most established alcohol beverage distributor with operations statewide serving premium wine, spirits and craft beer brands. The family-owned and operated company is an affiliate of Wirtz Beverage Group, one of the nation’s leading alcohol beverage distributors. With nearly $2 billion in annual sales and 2,500 employees, Wirtz Beverage Group has interests in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada and Wisconsin. To learn more about Wirtz Beverage, visit its website at www.WirtzBev.com.

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