Creating Private Labels to Expand Capacity, Revenue

An intentional contract brewer looking to work with newer brands or established breweries that have capacity concerns, Sten Sellier and his Beltway Brewing has made the decision to delve into waters that for some in the craft beer world is sometimes considered taboo: creating brands in house and selling them as private labels for businesses.

But with the way the industry is going, it’s not as taboo any more. Usually the stigma of a private label or “white label” is low quality. But taking the quality and consistency of dedicated craft brewers and applying it to an old trade is helping reach new clients with consumers that might not otherwise go near craft beer styles.

“I was really fighting against that when we opened,” Sellier said. “I refused to do anyway “off the shelf,” white labeling or anything like that because I wanted to really make the point that we are custom brewing. Anything that comes out of Beltway is our clients recipe and it’s unique to them. That was really important to me for a while.”

But as smaller batches have become more interesting in the market and breweries also understand what contract brewing is a little bit better and knowing that it’s just not someone mailing in a recipe and actually becoming a collaborative project, Sellier thought that the private label route can work.

In September Beltway created its own Blonde Ale under the Beltway brand but left some of the cans unlabeled and now it is offering local wineries and restaurant to address its craft beer needs.

“We tell them, you can’t afford to get into the cooperage or designing your own recipe, or don’t have any interest in having something totally custom, but you are interested in selling a local beer and marketing it with your brand,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of interest in it. Even some of the folks that called me in the past and I said, ‘No, sorry we don’t do that.’

“When some wineries heard we’re doing this they got pretty excited to come and get some well-made craft beer that they can brand their own way for their venue.”

The new venture for Beltway also helps the brewery’s brew team showcase the knowledge that they have garnered from collaborating with multiple clients in the craft beer industry, working on various Sours, Double IPAs and other styles. Now, it creates a new revenue stream for the company as it shifts to looking at creating smaller batches and helping turn around more products.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.