Good Beer Hunting

Sightlines — Stem Ciders Partner With Odell Brewing to Boost Colorado Distribution Network

Denver, CO’s Stem Ciders has unveiled a partnership with Odell Brewing Company of neighboring Fort Collins. Stem has also signed a distribution agreement with Breakthru Beverage, which distributes Odell beers everywhere except in Fort Collins where the brewery self-distributes. 

The advantages for Stem Ciders in this situation are clear. Stem is vastly smaller than Odell, producing just 1,500 barrels to Odell’s 110,000 in 2015. But with Odell acting as a sales broker, this gives Stem access to an incredible sales network, as well as experienced sales representatives positioned throughout the Mountain State. 

But there are distinct advantages for Odell, too. Liquor licensing laws in Colorado forbid breweries from producing hard ciders in the same facility. This was recently sidestepped by fellow Fort Collins brewery New Belgium when it released its range of Side Trip ciders—which are produced in its brand new Asheville, NC facility.

This partnership will give Odell a first-person perspective of the booming cider market, as well as put their brand in greater focus with Breakthru Beverage, which mostly focuses on the wine and spirits end of the market. For Stem, this gives a relatively small company the chance to win tap handles and shelf space purely through association with a highly reputable Colorado brewery.

Pabst inked a similar deal with the ailing Vermont Hard Cider Company in December 2015. But unlike that scenario, the language used by Odell and Stem suggests that their relationship is merely mutually beneficial and there's no evidence of a buyout in the works.

Stem Ciders Taps Odell Brewing for Expanded Sales Coverage in Colorado [Brewbound]

—Matthew Curtis