What Bay City Did to Set Itself Up Before Distro Deal

San Diego’s Bay City Brewing announced that it will begin distributing its beer with Karl Strauss Brewing through a new deal it recently signed.

But doing the homework before agreeing to the deal is what gives Rob Vetere the confidence of growth they anticipate.

“We use a variety of analytics to project production, sales, and capacity,” Bay City’s COO told Brewer.

The brewery had its first phase of expansion last year, adding three 60-barrel fermenters, which doubled the brand’s capacity.

“We’re now in the process of adding more production capacity, to responsibly grow and keep up with demand,” Vetere said.

The majority of Bay City’s focus has been on-premise, never having much focus on off-premise or retail sales.

“The barrier to entry is very difficult to chain stores, without the support of a distributor,” Vetere said.

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With this deal, Bay City will broaden its horizons beyond San Diego, targeting expansion into key Southern California markets including Orange County, Los Angeles, and the Inland Empire. This move will make Bay City’s acclaimed beers available off-premise in major grocery stores, thanks to Karl Strauss’ extensive distribution network.

“Karl Strauss has an extensive team and reach that will launch us into off-premise and retail chains,” Vetere said, adding that Bay City already had a few existing accounts in Orange County and the Inland Empire, so it was a perfect opportunity to use the Karl Strauss team to expand into those on-premise territories.

The Bay City team will work closely with the Karl Strauss logistics team and set realistic production goals to ensure they can meet increasing production demands.

This partnership with Karl Strauss is not just a milestone for Bay City Brewing; it’s a leap towards realizing co-owner Chad Robley’s vision of growth and reaching more beer enthusiasts across Southern California.

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“It’s a testament to our team’s hard work and the quality of our craft,” Robley said in a release. “We’re excited to introduce our unique line of beers to new communities.”

When it came to working with Karl versus other distro partners, Karl Strauss’s impeccable reputation across San Diego and the flexibility to still maintain self-distribution were the deciding factors for Bay City to join.

“We’re able to retain the accounts that our sales team nurtured over the past few years while having Karl Stauss’ support to grow,” Vetere said.

Timing was a major factor in finding the best fit.

“We may have thought we were ready a year ago, but in that time, we were able to tighten up production, rebrand our packaging, and add additional SKUs, which allowed Bay City to present itself much better to a distributor,” he said.

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