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Beer deal reflects distributor’s dominance

Burl Rolett January 8, 2014 0
Every Richmond area brewery has signed with Brown. (Photos by Burl Rolett)

Every Richmond area brewery has signed with Brown. (Photos by Burl Rolett)

A locomotive-themed brewery taking shape downtown has decided to send its products to market in Brown trucks.

Richmond-based Brown Distributing has added Triple Crossing Brewing Co. to its portfolio. The forthcoming Foushee Street brewery is the latest in a growing list of local breweries to sign with Brown.

“They understand the local scene very well and are very interested in making Richmond into this beer mecca,” Triple Crossing co-owner Adam Worcester said of Brown. “They want it to be like Portland, Oregon, or San Diego, where people come to Richmond because they know it has great beer.”

Brown Distributing craft and import director Jacob Brunow, left, sales director Dave Sorokoswki and craft and specialty manager Steven Tuzeneu.

Brown Distributing craft and import director Jacob Brunow, left, sales director Dave Sorokoswki and craft and specialty manager Steven Tuzeneu.

Brown and Triple Crossing finalized the deal Monday. Distribution deals, which determine where beers are sold in the area, are often likened to a marriage because of strict Virginia franchise laws. In most cases, only the distributor can terminate the agreement.

Triple Crossing also met with locally based Loveland Distributing, whose portfolio includes Virginia beer brands Smartmouth, Lost Rhino and Wild Wolf. A third area competitor, Rockville-based Specialty Beverage of Virginia, carries Blue Mountain, St. George and Beach Brewing Company.

Every Richmond area brewery has signed with Brown. The company, which has its headquarters on Villa Park Drive, also distributes Strangeways Brewing, Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery, Legend Brewing Co., Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, Center of the Universe Brewing Co., Isley Brewing Co. and Midnight Brewing Co.

Fledgling local breweries Garden Grove Brewing Co. in Chesterfield and Scott’s Addition-based Ardent Craft Ales are still free agents and have yet to sign with a distributor.

Brown craft and import director Jacob Brunow said the company’s previous success in luring local brands has made it appealing to the Richmond brewers who are next in line.

“We can offer them this collective that we’ve kind of created where they can interact and trade both mistakes and successes that they’ve had with other breweries,” Brunow said. “It’s become much more of a communal effort versus where it would be if all these guys were with different distributors.”

Triple Crossing Brewing founders Adam Worcester, left, and Scott Jones. (Photos by Burl Rolett)

Triple Crossing Brewing co-founders Adam Worcester, left, and Scott Jones.

Triple Crossing plans to open at 113 S. Foushee St. in February or March. The company is co-owned by Worcester, Scott Jones and a third previously silent partner: head brewer Jeremy Wirtes.

Triple Crossing hopes to have three beers ready for its launch. It unveiled its first flavor, a golden ale dubbed Element 79, in December. Worcester, a self-described “beer nerd,” said the name was inspired by the atomic number for gold.

Worcester said Triple Crossing has yet to nail down its distribution strategy. How soon – and how much – Triple Crossing will be available in local bars and restaurants will depend on the amount of beer the company can pump out of its seven-barrel brew house.

“Our goal is to be out in bars when we have enough that we can support them and still have enough for the tasting room so people can come in and enjoy it and not be disappointed,” Worcester said. “My dream has always been to go into a bar in the area and have a beer that we created on tap there.”

Triple Crossing hopes to open in February or March.

Triple Crossing Brewing hopes to open in February or March on Foushee Street.

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