What is going to be the big brewery of the 2020s that takes off huge nationwide?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by cmiller4642, Jan 21, 2020.

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  1. cmiller4642

    cmiller4642 (0) Aug 17, 2013 West Virginia

    The one that has a major expansion and gets distributed to more and more states until they hit all 50 quickly.

    I think 3 Floyds is a prime choice. Zombie Dust is already a major hype beer, and they have solid easy to drink for new craft beer drinker year round offerings like Alpha King and Gumballhead.

    With their unique bottle artwork and pedigree in the craft beer world, I can see them becoming another Stone/Founders as a nice widely distributed craft brewery.

    Zombie Dust is already being distributed in cans and flooding coolers around here.
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  2. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa (964) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    What I am about to say may seem pessimistic but...

    In the near future I do not think we will see any individual craft brewery distributing their beers nationwide (i.e., all 50 states plus DC). In fact I would envision the 'opposite' in that more larger, distributing breweries will become non-independent and in worst case out of business.

    The rate of growth for craft beer is diminishing and the nature of the craft beer business is shifting to small, local breweries. This is creating market conditions which are very challenging for the larger, distributing craft breweries (and Mega breweries too).

    One aspect of the craft beer industry that is likely to 'grow' are the craft beer consolidation businesses. Some example here:
    • Artisanal Beverage Ventures which is the 'holding company' for Southern Tier, Victory, Sixpoint,...
    • Legacy Breweries, Inc. which is the 'holding company' for Ninkasi, Laurelwood, Aspen,..
    • Canarchy which is the 'holding company' for Oskar Blues, Cigar City, ...
    Maybe as a whole one of the above 'holding companies' will have nationwide coverage someday?

  3. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 (1,724) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    I don't think a solid line-up of beers is the only reason that a brewery can go national, and ownership's willingness and financial resources are a bigger part of the process. As slowly as Three Floyds has been expanding, I doubt they have the desire, and likely could not raise the finances to do so.

    And what's this that Three Floyds skipped coming to Michigan in favor of West Virginia? Nothing against your state, but Michigan is closer. :wink:

    To comment on @JackHorzempa's post, I think there's always an exception or two, and Bell's is probably one of them. Larry Bell has said that he would never sell out to Big Beer, so independence appears to remain in Bell's future. And I think they're already distributing to around 40-45 states, so it wouldn't take much to go the rest of the way (and after things are fixed in Virginia). They keep expanding their capacity but I don't know if they are maxed out yet. It could be that the slower rate of growth of craft beer demand will cause any excess inventory to be available for distribution expansion without the need for more brewery expansion.
  4. cmiller4642

    cmiller4642 (0) Aug 17, 2013 West Virginia

    I don't buy beer in WV. I buy beer in Ohio

    Perks of living on the border :slight_smile:
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  5. jesskidden

    jesskidden (884) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    They've already tried having a much broader distribution region (back around 2000 IIRC) when they were having their bottled beers contract-brewed at August Schell in New Ulm. Pretty common on the shelves in NJ for awhile there.
  6. QuakeAttack

    QuakeAttack (810) Mar 19, 2012 California

    Add me to the group who thinks consolidation and local growth to be focus areas rather than national expansion.
  7. billandsuz

    billandsuz (621) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    I'm with @JackHorzempa on this.

    Anyone that tells you they have an accurate prediction about the future of craft beer in the US is full of shite to be honest. But if recent trends are any indication then the idea that some regional brewery is going to gain 50 State distribution in the near future, well, that's just not happening.

    Add in market conditions, the vast sums of money investors have lost in the can't miss ever growing money making world of craft beer*, continued pressure from the always merging macro brewers and it is really not a great time to be a modest regional brewery with ambitions beyond what they've already got.

    A better question might be "Who will be the next regional to down size or close shop?

    * Looking at you Ballast Point.
  8. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz (754) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Bell's said the brewery could make 1 million bbl/yr. They are maybe half of that. They can pop in more 800 bbl fermenters when the time comes.
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  9. islay

    islay (0) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    I think Three Floyds is a great brewery. Nonetheless, I think the days of Three Floyds hype are long gone. Zombie Dust, far from being a major hype beer in 2020, languishes as a "shelf turd" around here, and it just entered the market a few months ago. If Three Floyds ever decided to go national with Dark Lord and/or its variants, that could change temporarily before it too settled into the *shrug* position of, say, a Founders KBS.

    My guess is that Tree House will have to start distributing at some point in the next few years as consumer tastes inevitably shift and the hype dies down in a way that will leave it with much too much capacity, and much too much expansion-derived debt, to rely on shrinking on-site sales. If it does it right, it can decelerate the deterioration of the hype around the product with various artificial scarcity distribution techniques (small, strategic drops priced well below market-clearing levels) over a gradually expanding geographical area.
  10. SoCalBeerIdiot

    SoCalBeerIdiot (738) Mar 10, 2013 California

    Hopefully none. Breweries that try and go nationwide haven't been doing too great. Focus on local.
  11. KingforaDay

    KingforaDay (884) Aug 5, 2010 New Jersey

    I think the smart breweries are trying to figure out how they can serve their local areas and get customers to come to them, not how to grow their footprint and distribute to all 50 states.
    The Treehouses, Trilliums and Other Half's of the industry have proven you can be more profitable by not distributing and selling at retail prices direct to consumer while avoiding the distributor and store markups. I had read somewhere that Boston Beer Company sells a keg of beer for $83 (to it's distributor), and Treehouse sells that same keg (volume) of beer for $1,200. Those numbers are mind boggling but real and I see this as the wave of the future for successful breweries going forward.
    #11 KingforaDay, Jan 21, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
  12. Stoutmaster9

    Stoutmaster9 (0) Dec 30, 2016 California

    Something new, specializing in rather low % cotton candy flavored Kale & Soy, no doubt ...
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  13. ScaryEd

    ScaryEd (1,150) Feb 19, 2012 New Hampshire

    Tree House. Their expansion over the last 3 years has been unprecedented.

    Maybe not hitting all 50 States but the bubble has to pop soon. Can't sell out of the brewery forever.
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  14. dennis3951

    dennis3951 (0) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    How much beer can Treehouse brew? Do they sell it served in pints, bottled or canned in kegs to local bars?
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  15. nc41

    nc41 (0) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Wicked Weed. First they make good beer, second they make beers in about any flavor you like. Lots of innovative beers that would take a month to tick off. They already have distribution to select hubs well outside its core sphere of influence, and they have the financial muscle backing them if they do choose to expand their footprint. They could easily pull this off as the distribution network is already in place.
  16. FatBoyGotSwagger

    FatBoyGotSwagger (1,086) Apr 4, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Easy answer - Toppling Goliath they have a ways to go but would be my guess as best positioned to succeed in this endeavor.
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  17. cmiller4642

    cmiller4642 (0) Aug 17, 2013 West Virginia

    They just started distributing to OH, and their beer is coming in more and more every week. They remind me of 3F a few years ago back when Zombie Dust was limited.

    I hope that Pseduo Sue is all over the shelves
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  18. FatBoyGotSwagger

    FatBoyGotSwagger (1,086) Apr 4, 2009 Pennsylvania

    We just got them about two months ago. Psedou Sue is probably my favorite so far and it doesn't hurt picking up a 4 pack for $12.
  19. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill (1,785) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming

    Well, Saint Archer seems to have exploded on the scene with their low calorie low carb Gold. I mean, I have seen commercials for it on national television. :wink:
  20. Kinsman

    Kinsman (0) Aug 26, 2009 Nevada

    It's all fun and games, but this is damn near impossible to predict. 10 years ago, Three Floyds was already a big time hype brewery yet they're nowhere near national now. Other breweries grew like crazy in that time, some doing pretty well with a nearly national distribution while others have already started to fade.

    If anything, I'd say we might see more breweries focus on doing well in their local market and just be content with succeeding on a small scale. Not every brewer wants the headaches that come with growth.
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  21. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson (1,068) Mar 12, 2013 California
    Society Trader

    Seems like modern times has been sending some drops out into the wider world and with their new Anaheim location coming online they will have more capacity to serve a wider market.
    In general though I think the national distribution of this decade will be more focused on smaller deliveries tailored to supply a week or two of availability before disappearing for another couple weeks. I would hope that brewers have learned the folly of flooding new markets with too much product, thus turning your hard work into the dreaded "shelf turd"
  22. Sheppard

    Sheppard (1,053) Mar 16, 2013 Massachusetts
    Society Trader

    I don't know if they want to grow beyond being a regional brewery, but I'll offer the first serious answer here: Jack's Abby. Lager brewer. Less dependent on hops so will have less difficulties shipping beer than others. In a consumer friendly format and have already started showing the benefits of economies of scale. Again, it's dependent on how big they want to get.
  23. scream

    scream (0) Dec 6, 2014 Wisconsin

    I would rather see breweries focus on quality rather than distro. Expanding distro breweries need to also concentrate getting brews to the market in a timely fashion because many are super focused on when it was packaged.
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  24. Giantspace

    Giantspace (842) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    I enjoy this as well. I always hesitate at the price though because I paid $9 when I was in WI. Still worth the $12 though.

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  25. nc41

    nc41 (0) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Imo the best shelf turd beers on our shelf. Too bad they’re really good when reasonably fresh, but they’re usually not.
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  26. hoagzzz

    hoagzzz (0) Feb 28, 2014 Pennsylvania

    We get everything from FFF but Zombie dust here in SE PA, but $15 alpha king and other six packs don’t move.
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  27. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa (964) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Hmm, 15 bucks. I wonder why they don't move?:thinking_face:

    I have seen them at my local Retail Beer Distributors, saw the price, and I walked on by.

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  28. FatBoyGotSwagger

    FatBoyGotSwagger (1,086) Apr 4, 2009 Pennsylvania

    We do get Zombie Dust in SE PA, but to get allocated 1 case the store would have to buy 5 cases of Gumballhead. When they first came the Zombie went fast and there are still the 4 cases of Gumball at my local, because I bought the 5th case.
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  29. cmiller4642

    cmiller4642 (0) Aug 17, 2013 West Virginia

    ZD used to be a "hookup" beer here. You literally had to know the person working at the store to get a bottle.

    I walked in today and saw cans lining the cooler. Keep in mind that Indiana is right next to Ohio so I would assume outside of Illinois (Chicago) it's probably one of 3F's most distributed states.

    The one that I want is Dreadnaught, but the stores never get it for some reason. We have plenty of Robert the Bruce, Alpha King, Zombie Dust, and Gumballhead.
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  30. dcotom

    dcotom (1,521) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Society Trader

    Platform. My crystal ball tells me that before long we'll be seeing this taking up shelf space alongside Elysian, Goose Island, Breckenridge, Golden Road, and all the other AB-InBev sellouts.
  31. cmiller4642

    cmiller4642 (0) Aug 17, 2013 West Virginia

    Meanwhile Jackie O's, Fat Heads, Littlefish, and Urban Artifact will be virtually unknown outside of Ohio lol.... I could literally just drink on those 4 breweries for the rest of my life and probably be good.
  32. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 (1,724) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    I thought there was an issue with their beer not being so good. Do you think that A-B can market marginal beer? :wink:

    But you're right - the breweries that get purchased by the macros do get distributed nationally (or nearly so) in a fairly quick time period. We're getting 10 Barrel here in Michigan now, and maybe I've seen Golden Road too.
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  33. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 (1,724) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    I think Fat Head's opened a brewpub in Oregon (Portland?) 4-5 years ago, but closed it a couple years later. As good as their beers are, there must have been a different issue that caused that early closing.
  34. cmiller4642

    cmiller4642 (0) Aug 17, 2013 West Virginia

    I dunno, but their Special Hoperations collab with 3 Floyds is one of the best IPA's I've had so far this year. I'm glad I can get fresh FH's.
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  35. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 (1,724) May 30, 2005 Michigan

    I wish I could get it easily. I have family in Ohio, and I bring some home whenever i go visiting.
  36. meefmoff

    meefmoff (0) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    My understanding is that Treehouse currently brews around 50,000 barrels a year. All of it is sold directly from the brewery as 4 packs and intermittently available 2 per-person pours. This is in a town that isn't close to anything and in a facility that doesn't even have a proper tap room.

    Their party certainly can't last forever (I'm as baffled as anyone that they haven't had to change their model yet) but the notion that they would need, or want to try, to distribute nationwide leapfrogs over several rungs of outward expansion on the potential distribution ladder that they haven't needed to even dabble with yet.

    There's a New England race to see whose voodoo is stronger: Maine Beer Company's ability to stick with individual 16.9 ounce bottles for distribution or Tree House's ability to sell gobs of beer while completely eschewing distribution. :astonished: :slight_smile:
    #36 meefmoff, Jan 22, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
  37. Jinx989

    Jinx989 (524) Apr 22, 2015 Illinois

    I'm not sure you can say take off, but Destihl is already in 30 States I think and also in the U.K. and South Korea. It seems they add 3 or 4 states and a new International destination every year so I'm guessing it wont be long before they are in all 50 States and in several International markets.
  38. mikeinportc

    mikeinportc (1,044) Nov 4, 2015 New York

    They showed up here last year. I , & a of others grabbed some then, & the rest sits, mostly. With all the other fresher options*, it's mostly ignored. +shrug+

    *Lawson's Finest Liquids,Industrial Arts, Prison City, Aurora, Grimm, Sand City, Zero Gravity, Jack's Abbey, Equilibrium, Finback, Other Half, Beer Tree,Rushing Duck, KCBC,Three's , K2,Upstate, Common Roots, etc,etc,etc,etc,etc,etc. :wink:
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  39. meefmoff

    meefmoff (0) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    I tend to agree with those who've suggested that a huge distribution footprint just isn't going to be seen as a worthwhile goal for breweries going forward, but if anyone was going to give it a shot I think you're right that Jack's Abby seems like a better fit than most.

    If I had to guess, I'd think that affordable 12/15 packs of beer would be a pre-requisite for anyone making the move to large scale distribution these days and Jack's Abby already has that covered.
    #39 meefmoff, Jan 22, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
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  40. Junior

    Junior (0) May 23, 2015 Michigan
    Society Trader

    3 Floyd’s and Toppling Goliath seem to distribute the entire MidWest with the exception of Michigan. What gives???

    If and when they do come here I hope they figure out how to keep it fresh after the initial drop. Otherwise, it will sit as it does in other places.
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