Steamworks Brewing Co. steams into three new markets
DURANGO, Colo. – As a testament to the quality of the brews and notoriety earned by Steamworks Brewing Co., distributors from around the country are calling the southwestern Colorado born and based operation to carry its award-winning craft beer. Steamworks has selected the Minneapolis/St. Paul region, Long Island, N.Y., and Wisconsin as the first areas for expansion.
Steamworks has already established markets throughout Colorado, and in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas. The team is steadily rolling into the new markets, first in Minneapolis/St. Paul, followed by Long Island, with Wisconsin on the immediate horizon.
“Everyone we’re talking to now about distribution has approached us, versus us approaching them,” said Steamworks CEO and co-founder Kris Oyler, who has along with co-founder and Director of Sales and Marketing Brian McEachron, has been personally overseeing the move into the new markets. “They’ve heard about us or they’ve tasted our beers at various festivals, and they seem very excited to have us distribute in their regions. I know Steamworks is excited.”
All new markets will begin with six-packs of both Steam Engine Lager and Third Eye Pale Ale, plus 22 oz. bombers of Colorado Kölsch, The Conductor and Lizard Head Red. Kegs sales will be limited initially.
“We’re also gearing up to market a 12-pack ‘sampler’ in these new markets,” said McEachron of the package that will feature Steamworks’ Steam Engine Lager, Third Eye Pale Ale, Lizard Head Red and Colorado Kölsch. “Aside from it being great for parties, it will allow folks to become more familiar with the brand and our beers.”
Originally, the Steam Team had focused distribution in the regional area, but with the increasing success in the Texas market, which Steamworks entered in November 2007, the mindset has changed, according to Oyler. One of the greatest concerns was maintaining the freshness of the hand-crafted beers, but the brewery has enhanced its ability to extend shelf life and taken steps to help protect the product, plus is increasing education with distributors to monitor the beers’ expiration dates.
Though the quantities are hard to gauge at this juncture, Oyler noted that even if orders are minimal – 400 cases per month, which is Steamworks’ current distribution in New Mexico – adding 10 to 12 territories during the year will allow Steamworks to approach $1 million in wholesale revenue.
Steamworks opened its second, expanded, 5,000-barrel capacity brewery in Bayfield, Colo. in April 2004 with the explicit purpose of meeting the expected demand in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas. The company initiated its New Mexico distribution efforts in January of 2005, Arizona in summer 2006 and Texas in fall 2007.
“The market for craft beer is continually expanding throughout the United States and has now reached 5 percent of the total beer market in terms of dollars,” said McEachron. “Tastes are evolving and beer drinkers now appreciate the nuances and flavor of a variety of craft beers. I can tell you that we are the most drinkable craft beer in a can in all of Wisconsin and Minnesota.”
Steamworks Brewing Co. – Durango’s “2005 Business of the Year” – is located at 801 E. Second. Ave., Durango (970.259.9200), and 442 Wolverine Drive in Bayfield Center, Bayfield (970.884.7837). Both brewpubs are open from 11 a.m., serving lunch and dinner.
For further information, visit www.steamworksbrewing.com.