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Atlanta’s SweetWater Brewing to launch distribution in Memphis next week

June 12, 2014 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Distribution, Events, Memphis

SweetWater-LineupThe long-awaited arrival of SweetWater Brewing Company beers in Memphis is finally happening.

The Atlanta-based brewery announced today that it will begin distribution in the Bluff City — in cans, bottles and on draft — starting Monday, June 16. Budweiser of Memphis will be SweetWater’s distribution partner.

Here’s the full press release:


Southeastern craft brewery announces distributor, launch events and beer lineup coming to local shelves and taps

ATLANTA (June 2014) – SweetWater Brewing Company is ready to make a move Westward with the announcement it will open up distribution to Memphis, TN later this month. Shortly after the brewery’s $19 million expansion, SweetWater – ranked as one of the nation’s top 20 craft breweries according to the Brewer’s Association – will be bringing its lip-smackin’ lineup to the area on June 16.

Through diligent planning and wholesaler assignments, SweetWater proudly announces they will be working with Budweiser of Memphis to begin flowing in the market. While SweetWater has been available in Eastern parts of the state since 2005, Memphis will round out distribution statewide for thirsty locals. The brewery’s current footprint covers the Southeastern United States including Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Louisiana and Virginia.

“We’ve had our hands full expanding the brewery while simultaneously launching our new can line and conditioning process,” said SweetWater Founder and Big Kahuna Freddy Bensch. “With that under our belts, we’re finally at a place where we feel we’ve ramped up production enough to move further West and bring Memphibians the brews they’ve been training for!”

SweetWater is bringing their notoriously hoppy ales to the area starting with its flagship, 420 Extra Pale Ale, and IPA on draft at bars and restaurants, alongside bottles, cans and Tackle Box variety packs in off-premise grocery, package and specialty bottle shops including:

• 420 Extra Pale Ale – SweetWater’s 420 is a West Coast style pale ale with big hops and a crisp finish. First brewed on April 20, 1997, this beer has developed quite the following in the Southeast. 420 is extremely well-balanced which makes it a perfect introduction to a new town…that’s why we say “drink ‘em if you got ‘em!” Rolling out in six-pack bottles and 12-pack cans.

• SweetWater IPA – This mammoth India Pale Ale (IPA) is dry-hopped to the gills delivering a kick-you-in-the-teeth hop chop. The brew is unfiltered to leave all the natural flavors intact. SweetWater IPA won first place in a blind tasting against 15 of the best IPA’s in the country held by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Rolling out in six-pack bottles and 12-pack cans.

• SweetWater Blue – SweetWater Blue is a unique, lighter-bodied wheat ale enhanced with blueberries. This brew’ll give folks a good whiff of a blueberry influence, with a subtle taste and an extra clean finish. This ain’t no fruit beer, but it is our breakfast beer, and perfect for hanging on a warm Memphis day. Rolling out in six-pack bottles.

• SweetWater Tackle Box – The SweetWater Tackle Box variety pack is a hefty 12-pack collection featuring three of SweetWater’s favorite year round brews, along with a fourth catch and release seasonal specialty in each box.

A crew from SweetWater will taste their way around the area with sampling celebrations and sponsored events kicking off Tuesday, June 17 and running throughout the week. For the full schedule and participating locations, visit SweetWater’s Facebook Page.

Online fans can wet their whistles too by following the Tennessee Facebook page for details on how to enter SweetWater’s “Catch a Trout Tap” contest rewarding the first locals to spot their tap handles with free SweetWater Schwag.

To learn more about SweetWater Brewing Company and its full lineup, visit www.sweetwaterbrew.com.

Michigan’s Founders Brewing Co. launching distribution in Memphis soon

March 14, 2014 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Distribution, Memphis

Founders Brewing pint glassMichigan-based Founders Brewing Co., one of the top-rated craft breweries in the country, is coming soon to Memphis.

Founders is launching distribution in the Bluff City through Budweiser of Memphis in a matter of weeks. The brewery and distributor celebrated Thursday night with a small party at Local Gastropub in Midtown, giving a lucky few a sneak peek at Founders’ offerings.

Austin Sawyer, import, craft and specialty brand manager for Budweiser of Memphis, predicted the Founders arrival would be “one of the biggest craft (beer) launches in Memphis in 2014. … They really put an emphasis on quality.”

Founders is set to start distribution here between March 31 and April 4, Sawyer said. At the start, the Grand Rapids, Michigan, beer will be available on draft-only at bars and restaurants. But 30 days later, bottles and cans will also be available for sale in stores.

Founders’ Pale Ale and All Day IPA Session Ale — both lower-gravity beers — will be available in grocery stores. Liquor stores will have Founders’ higher-gravity Centennial IPA, Porter and Curmudgeon Old Ale. Sawyer said Founders’ limited and specialty beers will be available on a very limited basis in Memphis in 2014.

All Day IPA

All Day IPA, which is Founders’ flagship beer and a 2010 GABF Silver Medal Winner, will be available in packages of 15 cans that should sell for about $17.99 at most stores. It’s a full-flavored beer that impresses with its hop character and low ABV, clocking in at just 4.7%. You could drink several at a sitting and be just fine.

“All Day IPA is going to be the lead dog here,” predicted John Marchetti, Founders’ Southeast Regional Sales Director. Sales of the Centennial IPA, Pale and Porter should also be strong, he said.

Founders opened for business in 1997. The brewery recently finished its fourth expansion in five years, bringing its brewing capacity to 340,000 barrels a year.

“For the first time in our history, we have excess capacity,” Marchetti said, adding that Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana are being added to Founders’ distribution network in 2014. Florida and Texas were added last year.

When Founders launches in Memphis, it will also roll out at the same time in Nashville through Bounty Bev, and it will soon make its way to other parts of the state.

Memphis brewery preview: a look inside Wiseacre Brewing Company, opening this week

August 27, 2013 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Distribution, Events, Memphis

Wiseacre - outside
Wiseacre Brewing Company will cut the ribbon on its new brewery Wednesday at 2783 Broad Avenue in the heart of Memphis’ Broad Avenue Arts District, with a ceremony featuring Mayor A C Wharton.

The brewery, founded by brothers Davin and Kellan Bartosch, will then open its tap room and patio on Friday, marking the debut of Wiseacre beer in the Memphis market.

The Bartosch brothers are putting the finishing touches on the tap room and brewery, but gave FuzzyBrew a sneak peek inside on Tuesday.

The brewery features a 20-barrel brewhouse, with 200 barrels of fermentation space.

Wiseacre brewhouseWiseacre’s 20-barrel brewing system.

Wiseacre-fermentersFermenters at Wiseacre.

The brothers have been brewing on the system since August 10 and have a limited amount of beer — 40 barrels, or 80 kegs — to start with for the next week and a half.

They’ve been brewing their first two year-round beers — Tiny Bomb American Pilsner and Ananda IPA — as well as a brown ale that will be a special release.

“We’ll alternate through styles,” said Kellan, adding that the special releases will include Oktoberfests, Belgians, IPAs, porters and stouts, often depending on the season or what its brewmaster, Davin, might be craving.

“It’s stuff I want to drink,” Davin added.

Wiseacre's Kellan and Davin BartoschKellan, left, and Davin Bartosch, inside the Wiseacre brewery.

Wiseacre - Davin BartoschDavin Bartosch is Wiseacre’s brewmaster.

The taproom will be open this week on Friday, from 4 to 8 p.m., and Saturday, 1 to 8 p.m. After this weekend, the regular tap room schedule will be Thursdays and Fridays, 4 to 8 p.m., and Saturdays from 1 to 8 p.m.

There will be food trucks with food for sale outside, and beer inside, including tasters, pints and growlers. The tasting room is less a bar and more a place to get to know the beers and the brewery, Kellan said.

“We don’t view it as a huge business opportunity but as a place for people to learn about beer.”

Wiseacre taproomThe tap room, still under construction.

Wiseacre tapsWiseacre taps, with an acorn on top.

Wiseacre will start distributing its draft beers locally through Budweiser of Memphis in the next few weeks, but don’t expect to see it everywhere, all at once.

They’ll be starting small and growing as they go. “We’re being safe because we don’t want people to run out and get frustrated,” Kellan explained.

And, yes, Wiseacre’s canning line will be installed soon, and Tiny Bomb American Pilsner and Ananda IPA will be available for purchase before year’s end.

But the brothers are taking things one step at a time.

“Quality,” Davin said, “is the most important thing to me.

Wiseacre patioWiseacre’s patio, opening Friday.

Colorado’s Oskar Blues launching distribution in Memphis on Sept. 9

August 27, 2013 By: mike Category: Breweries, Craft beer, Distribution, Events, Memphis

Oskar BluesColorado’s Oskar Blues Brewing Company, a pioneer in craft beer cans, is coming to Memphis.

The brewery will launch sales in the Bluff City on Sept. 9 through distributor Budweiser of Memphis.

Mama’s Little Yella Pils — which clocks in at 5.3% ABV — will be the only beer available in grocery stores. Meanwhile, in liquor stores, bar and restaurants, you’ll be able to get the higher gravity Dale’s Pale Ale, Deviant Dale’s, Old Chub and Ten FIDY, according to Budweiser of Memphis’ Austin Sawyer.

At launch, Memphis will only be getting cans of Oskar Blues, but draft sales will start about 60 days later, Sawyer said.

There will be samplings, tastings and more on the week of Sept. 9 to promote the start of Oskar Blues distribution here.

“We’ll be all over the city that week,” Sawyer said.