Brooklyn Brewery announced this morning that it has joined forces with 21st Amendment Brewery of San Leandro, California, and Funkwerks Brewing Company of Fort Collins, Colorado, on a sales and distribution partnership that will ultimately mean expanded availability for all three breweries. The combined organization will result in 90 Brand Ambassadors, covering 38 states, along with a field sales and key accounts team of 70 people nationwide.
In a blog post, Brooklyn announced that the new partnership will go into effect January 1, 2018. “That means Brooklyn Lager will someday soon pour in the Bay Area … 21st Amendment cans will roll forth along the Gulf Coast, and Funkwerks will pop up in Brooklyn,” the post read.
“This partnership revolves around the platform,” Nico Freccia, co-founder of 21st Amendment, told trade blog PorchDrinking.com. “It’s an elegant way for like-minded independent breweries to band together to grow and compete and strengthen our brands, without selling to the big guys.”
While exact details were not disclosed, Brooklyn Brewery announced it had made minority investments in both 21st Amendment and Funkwerks in support of the partnership. According to the Brewer’s Association guidelines, outside ownership percentages must remain below 25 percent for a brewery to be considered “independent,” so it’s safe to assume the total amount invested in each brewery will fall below that mark.
For established semi-national breweries Brooklyn and 21st Amendment, the partnership means coast-to-coast distribution and sales and, most importantly, footprints in heretofore untapped markets. For smaller Funkwerks, the increased exposure should help it continue the upward trajectory it’s seen in recent years.
“What attracted Funkwerks to this platform is gaining access to a large and well-trained sales team and top-quality brewing skill,” Brad Lincoln, co-founder of Funkwerks, said. “From there we get to stay independent, control our destiny, and focus on doing what we truly love to do — make creative, compelling, and delicious beers.”
“American craft brewers need to stick together and find new ways to meet the challenges of the 21st Century marketplace,”
Brooklyn founder Steve Hindy said of the announcement. “We are excited to work with 21st Amendment and Funkwerks to ensure the spirit of independence that built the craft beer revolution continues to lead that revolution.”
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