[UPDATE]: Here’s comment from Premium Distributors of DC Marketing Executive:
Receiving the news that New Belgium selected Premium as their distributor was a great day for us as both beer lovers and business operators. We are preparing thoroughly with the New Belgium team to meet the highest levels of anticipation and excitement throughout metro DC to deliver New Belgium’s delicious beer later this summer. The addition of New Belgium’s brands enables us to offer even more cutting-edge brews to our customers and ultimately the DC beer drinker. Peter Bouckaert brews cutting edge beer, many which are included in the Lips of Faith series which we will be carrying in addition to Fat Tire, Somersault, Ranger IPA and the full New Belgium portfolio.
One of the last major hoops for New Belgium to jump through before coming to the DC, Maryland, and Virginia markets has been completed.
New Belgium announced today that “it has signed contractual agreements with 17 distributors in the Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. areas.”
In the District, Premium Distributors of D.C. will be distributing the Fort Collins, CO brewery’s beers. In Northern Virginia, Premium Distributors of VA will have that task.
“We are, of course, very excited to be working with the highest caliber distributors in such an incredibly competitive market,” said New Belgium’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Director, Neil Reeve. “It was a difficult decision in that there were no bad options. In the end, we chose a healthy mix and we simply could not pass up the opportunity to partner with an independent house and help them grow their business as well as our own.”
New Belgium plans to roll into all new markets with 22-oz Fat Tire, Ranger IPA and the fall seasonal, Hoptober Ale. Trippel and Lips of Faith beers will also be available in some markets with draft and 12-oz packages to follow.
No deal has been signed for Montgomery County, MD (stunning, since everyone you talk to in the beer industry will tell you that MoCo has some of the most convoluted, ridiculous, and restrictive regulations in the country) at this time though there are plans to open that area eventually. As the county operates independently of the three-tier system, there are logistical challenges to storage, QA standards and services that need to be addressed in a creative way.
“New Belgium would like very much to be in Montgomery County,” said Reeve. “We are simply trying to figure out how to make it work to our standards in a way that is respectful to the distributor, New Belgium, our retailers and our beer drinkers.”
This is good news for anyone out there looking to have Fat Tire soon. It looks like you’ll have to buy it in 22 oz. bombers before you get it on draft, but the popularity of this brand is such that it should get to draft accounts soon after coming to the market.