As is plainly evident to those tuning in to Growler Fills, it has been difficult to find the time to keep the news flowing lately. I’d be remiss, however, if I didn’t pass along this news, albeit a few days late.
KettleHouse Brewing Co., with three breweries in Missoula, is well known to Montanans (and beyond), thanks to its crazy popular Cold Smoke Scotch Ale, Double Haul IPA and Olde and Fresh Bongwater, both made with hemp (and long flummoxing the Feds on just how to classify it).
The National Beer Wholesalers Association recognized KettleHouse with its 2016 NBWA Brewer Partner of the Year award, which it announced at its annual convention held this year in Chicago.
Beer distributors are the least understood (and often the most maligned) of the three tier system of alcohol regulation in the U.S. but are a critical component of bringing great beer to fans throughout the country. Thus, the award is an important recognition for KettleHouse.
Here’s the full press released provided by Kathleen Joyce, Communications Director for the NBWA.
KettleHouse Brewing Co. Honored With Brewer Partner Sales Execution Award at NBWA Annual Convention
CHICAGO, IL – The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) is pleased to announce that KettleHouse Brewing Co. of Missoula, Montana, was recognized with the second annual NBWA Brewer Partner Sales Execution Award. The award was presented today during the general session of NBWA’s 79th Annual Convention, taking place September 25 – 28 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago in Chicago, Illinois.
Allagash Brewing Company of Portland, Maine, was honored as the overall 2016 NBWA Brewer Partner of the Year, and Port City Brewing Company in Alexandria, Virginia, was presented the NBWA Brewer Partner Marketing Innovation Award.
The awards recognize the brewers who do the best job in the marketplace producing great beer; building strong partnerships; providing valuable education; and offering support to their distributor customers in order to bring their beers to market.
“KettleHouse is one of the more than 4,000 breweries that are generating such excitement for beer around this country and providing the American consumer with unprecedented choice and quality,” said NBWA President & CEO Craig Purser. “The U.S. is enjoying a Golden Age for beer thanks to a robust and competitive system of independent distribution, which provides access to market for brewers of all sizes, creates a competitive playing field for brewers of all sizes and generates excitement for consumers.”
“America’s beer distributors look forward to celebrating the success of each of these brands and recognizing many more innovative and collaborative brewers in the future,” Purser added.
KettleHouse Brewing Co. was founded in 1995 by Tim O’Leary and Suzy Rizza and produced 15,000 barrels of beer in 2015.
Tim O’Leary has been a pioneer of the Montana craft movement. According to Dave Irvin of Eagle Beverage, “He started small and knows what it takes to make all the parts work in the beer business.”
When the brewery made the decision to sell its products in cans, it was through feedback from their local distributor that they decided to use 16-ounce cans instead of traditional 12-ounce units so they could be used as single-serve packages to introduce new customers to the brand at more outlets. The result has been unprecedented growth and a real challenge to keep up with capacity demands. As a result of this success, the brewery is in the process of a new production facility that will enable them to meet the demands of their distributors.
In recalling a conversation with a prospective distributor, O’Leary explained, “Our job is to make theirs easier because we know how hard the logistics are for getting our product to market. We know that in this point-and-click world we now live in, relationships still sell beer. Our distributors have spent decades building relationships, and we do not want to screw that up.”
The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) represents the interests of America’s more than 3,000 licensed, independent beer distributor operations in every state, congressional district and media market across the country.