(Portland, ME) – Allagash Brewing is furthering distribution cuts that it’s made over the past couple years, with Texas and Washington being the latest to get the axe.
[Ed. note: for those who will wonder, this is not an April Fools Day joke]
Click Wholesale in Washington was given 90 days until the move takes effect (July 1st). A representative with Ben E. Keith in Texas was unaware of the timing there.
A screenshot of Allagash’s website from a couple years ago shows that the brewery’s beers were once available in 24 states and the District of Columbia. Later this summer, that number will have been trimmed down to 16 states and D.C. (pending any decisions with others states going forward).
Not surprisingly, the reason is rapid growth. Brewery production grew over 40% last year up to around 24,000 barrels.
Allagash recently notified distribution and retail partners in Texas and Washington of its decision. An excerpt of a letter sent from the Maine-based brewery to one account reads:
[…] we have been experiencing unprecedented levels of demand that have far exceeded our original sales projections for 2011. Despite a recent expansion, these demand levels continue to outstrip capacity here at the brewery, and we have been forced to make some extremely difficult decisions to cope with this dilemma. In the last year one of the most difficult decisions we have had to make is the painful decision to temporarily pull out of 20+ markets to help us keep up. This has still not been a big enough step.
In this case, markets obviously refers to subregions of states. The brewery had previously pulled distribution from Ohio, Michigan, Colorado, Indiana, Oregon and Florida.
Though the brewery ended distribution in the part of Illinois handled by Specialty Imports last year, a representative with Chicago’s Windy City Distribution confirmed this afternoon that the brewery will be sticking with them.
A representative with Wine Warehouse of California confirmed yesterday that they hadn’t been notified of any changes in distribution.
That would make California and Illinois the only two states outside of the East Coast that are distributing Allagash as of later this year.
As with all of these stories of distribution pull-back, these decisions aren’t necessarily permanent. Breweries are investing heavily in additional capacity that will help them meet the surge in demand.
Though Allagash declined to comment on changes in distribution, Brewer, Dee Dee Germain, said yesterday that the company just completed a 5,000 sq. foot addition at its facility, enabling them to increase capacity. Newly-installed tanks are already holding beer as of this week.