A 15 pack of All Day IPA by Grand Rapids-based Founders Brewing Co. Photo via foundersbrewing.com
Meijer is doubling down on its efforts to sell Michigan beer across its footprint.
Meijer said yesterday that it has committed to expanding its marketing and distribution of six of the most popular Michigan breweries and their product lines across its 223 stores in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin.
The six brewers to be featured at the stores will be Galesburg-based Bell’s Brewery, Grand Rapids-based Founders Brewing Co., Bellaire-based Short’s Brewing Co., Holland-based New Holland Brewing Co., Detroit-based Atwater Brewery and Kalamazoo-based Arcadia Ales.
“What’s happening here in Michigan is a microcosm of what’s happening throughout the Midwest and across the country – the state of craft beer is thriving,” said Peter Whitsett, EVP of merchandising and marketing, Meijer.
Whitsett said that since Meijer first carried six packs of Bell’s Oberon in 1995, "the culture of exploration in the craft beer community has continued to seek new tastes and flavors from locally made brands."
“The craft partnerships we’ve forged over the last two decades are indicative of what is considered some of the best beers available in the country,” he said.
In Michigan stores, Meijer sells beer from more than 50 Michigan breweries.
Meijer sells more than 34 Michigan craft beers a minute in the Mitten state and wants to take that Michigan pride to its stores across the Midwest.
Meijer also said it expects its five-year trend of double-digit growth in craft beer sales to continue, and it projects to sell more than $90 million of the liquid in 2016, including $30 million in Michigan beers.
Dave Engbers, one of the co-founders of Founders Brewing Co., said he remembers when craft beer could only be found in small stores.
Founders began its relationship with Meijer in 2006, and last year, it sold more than 200,000 cases at the company’s stores.
“Meijer took the opportunity to welcome craft beer enthusiasts and has done a great job engaging customers and listening to what they are demanding,” Engbers said.
Meijer is also excited about other growing Michigan breweries, such as Perrin Brewing Co., Brewery Vivant, Dark Horse Brewing Co. and Griffin Claw Brewing Co., as well as the other growing beverage trends, such as hard cider, soda-flavored hard beverages and craft spirits.
“One of the most exciting things about the craft beer world is its constant evolution, and we’re seeing more enthusiasts and casual beer drinkers shopping our aisles in their quest to find new brews and tastes from Michigan and beyond,” Whitsett said.
“Being a retailer that calls Beer City, U.S.A. home, it’s always been about community for us, and we’re thrilled we can help breweries expand beyond their local boundaries, while providing customers across the Midwest with the craft beers they are most excited about.”