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A-B-Owned Craft Brewer Goose Island Plans Major Expansion, New National Ad Campaign

February 28, 2014

In the wake of a 70% jump in sales last year, Goose Island Beer Co. is laying plans for significant expansion. The Chicago-based craft brewer, acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2011, has leased a 130,000-square-foot warehouse near its headquarters on Chicago’s north side, where it plans to house hundreds of new Bourbon barrels for production of its Bourbon County Stout series, which is aged for more than a year.

Bourbon County, offered just one day a year and priced at $25 a four-pack of 12-ounce bottles, has sold out in a matter of hours everywhere it’s been released. The product, offered in flavors such as coffee, rye and vanilla, has become a cult favorite, with beer lovers in cities such as Miami and Houston camping out overnight in front of retail stores the day after Thanksgiving to ensure they could buy it.

“The bigger warehouse will allow us to quadruple our capacity for Bourbon County,” says Goose Island CEO Andrew Goeler. “We’ll get more product out to our markets, although we’ll still be far short of meeting demand.”

Once a regional brewer before being taken national last year by Anheuser-Busch, Goose Island brews some of its labels at A-B plants in different states, but Goeler says the company wants to keep Bourbon County a made-in-Chicago product.

Goose Island is also introducing its first national ad campaign, including print and digital spots. The ads feature Goose Island’s Fulton Street Brewery in Chicago and run under the tagline, “To what’s next.” Meanwhile, Goose Island—whose volume neared the 350,000-barrel mark in 2013—is planning the release of 18 new beers in 2014.

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