Case Study: Upland’s Distribution: Home & Away

The Sour beer market has been a key to Upland Brewing’s growth in 2017. The Bloomington, Indiana brewery has added 10 markets this year, doubling Sour production from 2016, said Head of Brewing Operations and COO Pete Batule.

The company announced opening markets in Texas, South Carolina, Michigan and Oklahoma, all just in November.

“We really wanted to be in some of the best craft markets in the country,” Batule said. “We selected markets where we felt our distributor partners understood our brands and how to best represent our Sour program.”

The year began with launches along the East Coast, shortly followed by expansion in the Midwest and South, and can now be found on the West Coast as well. More launches are planned for 2018 also.

The model for introducing the brand to new markets has largely remained the same for the entire year, Batule said.

“Recently, we’ve made it a point to collaborate with more local breweries with sour programs similar to ours when we launch new markets to give us a greater sense of home when we visit,” Batule said. “They serve as great ambassadors of our beer when we’re not there and inspire us with new ideas for the future.”

In its home state of Indiana, the Hoosier brewery has a multi-faceted look, including cores like Dragonfly IPA and producing Champagne Velvet — a pre-Prohibition brand that the brewery brought back in the past few years — coupled with its Sour production.

But now, after completing a build of a new barrel-aging facility in 2016, the brewery can tackle more demand in the sour market and have a national face as a sour producer.

The expansion included installation of several fouders and additional wine and bourbon barrels, a new bottling line, additional fermenters and brite tanks.

“Our strategy for our core line of beers … has been to remain focused on our home markets with the majority of our sales in Indiana,” Batule explained. “Prior to adding capacity for our sour ale program, we only made small batch releases for sale in our own pubs. We will continue to release limited small batch sours from our own pubs, however now we have the ability to ship larger batches out to new markets.”

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

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