How Staying Local Has Benefited TUPPS

Count TUPPS Brewery among those that recognize the value of the “Drink Local” movement and being an inch wide and a mile deep.

TUPPS owner Keith Lewis started brewing in his garage while working full-time in a completely unrelated field before starting his craft brewery in the Dallas, Texas suburb of McKinney. While the brewery has been open since 2015, it’s only really expanded to Texas’s major metro areas.

“If you’re a brewery here in Texas or from another state, try to go into a market like Colorado or North Carolina,” Lewis said. “Some brands like Green Flash and Founders are revered brands, but when you leave your local market you don’t do as well as you do with people in your home state.”

When TUPPS began enjoying some success in the Dallas-area markets, Lewis expanded his distribution to the Austin area. A recent expansion into Houston tipped the scales enough to necessitate larger facilities and new equipment necessary to scale up to serve customers in Texas’s largest metropolitan area.

With few exceptions, the lesson TUPPS has learned is to stay home because there’s plenty of room for it to grow within its own state.

“The nice thing about Texas is it is a gigantic state with a huge population that is underserved with craft beer,” Lewis said. “You don’t really need to go anywhere else. Texas is where our strength is.”

Keeping their focus local also helped them when they were researching what they needed in terms of equipment and space when determining how to scale up production.

“When you leave your home market and you’re not distributing everywhere, people are willing to give you advice,” Lewis said. 

TUPPS is sold in Oklahoma, because Lewis’s kids, who also work at TUPPS, went to the University of Oklahoma. While having a connection like that can add some value to being in such a market, it’s important to keep expectations realistic, Lewis noted.

“But how does it do against COOP Ale Works? Not very well, and that’s a testament to their being local,” he said. “We’re doing OK, and we have some unique beers that aren’t in that market like our Full Grown Man series because no one there has anything like it. Our DDH does well there, too. But it’s not high value [compared to what we do in Texas].”

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