Keys in Targeting & Developing Markets to Grow

As Bootstrap Brewing saw a 25.7% growth in 2020, the Colorado-based company expects to grow another 10% or more in volume this year. A lot of that growth in a tough time for many breweries came down to precise planning and proper execution. In that growth, Bootstrap added four new distribution partners in the first half of 2021 that now serve Southwest Colorado, Northwest Wyoming, and Eastern Kansas. The brewery has additional agreements in place to soon begin shipping to Kansas City in both Kansas and Missouri along with Utah and Idaho.

Co-owner Leslie Kaczeus told Brewer that expanding the brewery’s reach took planning.

“We purchased three more 90-barrel fermenters last fall which gives us capacity to keep adding new partners and states as it makes sense,” she said. “It’s important to us to make sure we have successfully launched a new partner before we add another.”

Personally, Kaczeus said she wanted to be a full-production brewery from the beginning planning stages. It’s just taken time.

“But because we bootstrapped it and did what we could with what we had, we had to start our brewery in a 1,200 square-foot [space] in the back of a pole barn in Niwot, Colorado,” she explained. “We continuously re-invested over the past nine years and opened a true production facility in 2017 in Longmont to create what we have today. We sold the Niwot building last November to Fritz Family Brewers and are now laser-focused on one location.

“Looking back, it’s amazing what we did in that tiny facility and how hard each growth step was but it ultimately paid off in the end.”

Up until last fall, Kaczeus said they did not have a sales team and growth was very organic.

“We have always been highly reliant on our distribution partners to represent us as our sales team and they’ve done a great job but last fall, we brought on Geoff Hess as our Director of Sales,” she said. “Geoff’s got such a fantastic background and strong relationships with both retailers and distributors and he’s totally kicked it up a notch for us.”

​In a release, the brewery​ attributes its growth to increased sales of flagship beers, expansion of distribution territories, the release of innovative new products, and national account execution and programming.

“I’m fortunate to work with such an outstanding and hard-working team at Bootstrap,” Hess​ said​. “Every day their passion and dedication to producing high-quality craft beer in a can reminds me of the good ole days​.

“Our attention to detail and focus on the consumer experience is the reason we are experiencing a groundswell of momentum.”

Having proximity can help in quicker deliveries and fresher beer for consumers to purchase. It also keeps brewery reps closer to headquarters and to have a more personal connection with the home market while sharing that experience and telling the brewery’s story farther away.​

When it comes to creating a good wholesaler​ relationship, Kaczeus​ said they develop an annual marketing plan with each ​distribution ​partner and split the costs 50/50 so each company is invested in growth together.

READ MORE: What These Sales Reps Do to Keep Strong On-Premise Relationships

Bootstrap also now has a field sales representative working the front range and will continue adding more field reps in new markets as they develop and grow enough to support.

So with the new territory reaches​ Bootstrap​ look​s​ for distribution partners that are super enthusiastic about ​the brewery and brands and in each of these new states there was at least one distributor Kaczeus​ said ​that reached out to ​them first to bring our products in.

​”​It also helps that they are all close to Colorado borders as well​,” she said.

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