Behemoth signs Ballast Point deal

Behemoth Brewing Co. has signed a brew-under-licence agreement with San Diego’s Ballast Point Brewing, marking further expansion into the US as breweries in Australia and New Zealand look for new ways to reach global markets.

Ballast Point will be brewing 80,000 litres of Behemoth beers for the California market under the deal, with the New Zealand brewer predicting these will “increase substantially” in the first year.

The reciprocal agreement will also see Behemoth continue to brew Ballast Point beers for the New Zealand market.

“We have a strong connection with the West Coast of the USA with Hannah Miller Childs, our co-CEO coming from Portland Oregon and we spend a bit of time doing research on beer trends and bar concepts over there,” explained co-CEO Andrew Childs.

“Although the US beer market is arguably saturated, we are starting out in Ballast Point’s bars, these bars are incredibly popular and in only a short few weeks have already been flying through kegs.

“We feel that when we go wider we have a great beers and a unique enough brand to carve our niche in the market, remembering that even a small slice in America can be quite sizable in comparison to New Zealand and Australia just due to population and popularity of craft beer in California.”

Behemoth’s core range of brews and seasonal rotations will be included in the deal.

Brewers across Australia and New Zealand have long had their eye on export, but profit margins can be slim, compounded by the consistently high price of international freight in a post-COVID world.

There is also the issue of sustainability, with brewers looking closer at their carbon footprints and how to reduce emissions from the supply chain through to distribution and recycling and waste.

“It is truly the best of both worlds for both ourselves and Ballast Point,” explained Childs.

“We get to have each other’s beers fresh in each market, no shipping, fresher beer, cost effective, both for us and consumers, it is sustainable with a core range and rotating seasonals.

“This can help build the brands in both markets and keep the sense of fun and continual innovation for both brands in NZ and California.”

Many brewers will balk at the idea of having another brew their beer, but there will be quality assurance (QA) processes in place to ensure consistent standards for both Ballast Point and Behemoth, explained Childs.

“Both breweries will be sending people over each way once a year to check on qualities as well as air shipping samples as much as is practical,” he said.

“Both Behemoth and Ballast Point have strong emphasis on QA and only let great beer out into each other’s markets.”

The deal comes as Behemoth has also agreed a major 72,000 litre supply deal with Australian supermarket and liquor chain Coles, which owns the First Choice and Liquorland bottleshops.

The brewery is also setting up to launch a $3 million equity crowdfunding campaign on the back of similar successful raises it and other NZ brewers have previously completed.

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