Update: That was fast. Ballast Point has announced its entry into Chicago and Minnesota with Wirtz Beverage.
(San Diego, CA) – After this week’s hint from Binny’s Beverage on a possible Chicago entry, BeerPulse caught up with Ballast Point Brewing Co. Director of Sales and Marketing, Earl Kight, to see what is new at the brewery.
Ballast Point has been going gangbusters for the past few years. In 2010, the company reached 20,000 barrels, up 77%. In 2011, they hit 29,000 barrels, up 45%. In 2012, they did 48,000 barrels, up 66%. This year, they are projecting 78,000 barrels, up 63%.
Ballast Point will enter the Chicago market on May 1st. Look for an official announcement with distribution partner, to be named, and additional info next week.
The team is actively looking at other markets as well. Kight says they get a lot of consumer requests nearby in Washington and Oregon and are interested in Georgia. There are also spots to fill in existing states like Texas and even California. They will be cautious as to not stretch themselves too thin as they committed within the past year to fill orders from California wholesalers.
As for sales manpower, they have two sales people in Los Angeles and are budgeting in a third; they have someone in San Francisco and are sending another out to Austin, Texas. They are also budgeting in help for Florida, the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast.
NEW BREWERY AND BREWHOUSE
Not much to report with respect to their third location as they are still looking for a spot. They have a 150-barrel brewhouse to put it in once they do lock it down. The San Diego Reader reported last week that Premier Stainless built them a new 15-barrel brewhouse for the Home Brew Mart: “That brewhouse includes a 15-barrel kettle, 20-barrel mash-tun, and 30-barrel hot liquor tank.” They have a five-barrel pilot system now, too.
The same Reader report unveiled the new Homework Series, a limited line of 22 oz. bottle beers paying homage to the Home Brew Mart with homebrew recipes right on the labels. Kight says Sculpin IPA started out as an internal homebrew recipe that eventually made it into the commercial portfolio and that the Homework Series was drawn up, in part, from that idea.
Batch No. 1 India Red Ale is a very-limited run of only six or seven pallets with some limited draft to go with the bottles. The beer was one that Brewmaster, Colby Chandler, originally brewed for his own wedding. That will go out to the local market next week. They will brew it once more in March with an April release timeframe. If drinkers like it, they’ll put branding around it, give it a name and release it again…
Batch No. 2 will be the result of an internal homebrew contest for Ballast Point brewers.
Ballast Point ran the canning line successfully two weeks ago with blanks. Cans are being run at Ball Corp. next week and they will send someone out to Golden, Colorado, to make sure that goes as planned. They expect cans to be at wholesalers in Southern California by the end of March. It will be SoCal to start and the four launch brands will be Sculpin IPA, Big Eye IPA, Longfin Lager and Pale Ale.
OTHER NEW BOTTLES
There will probably be three new beers in bottles at some point.
Fathom IPL (India Pale Lager) is coming to 22 oz. bottles, probably in mid-summer. The beer, which has only been available on draft so far, won a World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Festival gold medal in 2010. “We are in the process of label development right now.”
Going away from the Nautical theme, Piper Down Scottish Ale will be another. They made this one for The Highland Games.
Habañero Sculpin IPA is a huge draw on draft and they would like to work that into the rotation as well.
They were previously selling a mixed 8-pack of 22 oz. bottles at Costco though Kight says they ran their course. Instead, they are looking at a possible variety 12-pack of 12 oz. bottles. Black Marlin recently received label approval for 12 oz. bottles and Kight indicated that it was mainly with the intent to put in a sampler.