Brewery & Pub company require marketing to head West

Steve’s breakdown: Thirsty Monk Brewery & Pub is moving into the highly competitive markets of Portland, OR and Denver, CO. They expect it to be easy because these are major brew pub markets but they are not considering that fact that there are a Million brew pubs in these areas. They’ll need some help.

Barry Bialik is the CEO and can probably be reached at 828.254.5470.

ASHEVILLE, NC: North Carolina-based Thirsty Monk Brewery & Pub announced plans Thursday to open satellite breweries and taprooms in two prominent craft beer markets: Denver, Colorado, and Portland, Oregon.

Thirsty Monk, which opened in 2008 as Belgian beer bar before initiating small-batch brewing five years ago, will acquire the Deep Draft Brewery in Denver along with a yet-to-be-named, “well-known” Portland beer bar.

Speaking to Brewbound, Thirsty Monk CEO Barry Bialik said the moves were part of Thirsty Monk’s plan to open small, localized brewing hubs in popular craft beer destinations.

“We didn’t want to go with the approach of building out a giant facility and trying to be in every supermarket,” he said. “What we wanted to do was pick out the markets that we would like to spend time in and be local in flavor and character.”

Bialik declined to discuss specific financial terms of both transactions. However, he said that his company would close on a deal for the 2-year-old Deep Draft brand and assets, which includes a 12-barrel brewhouse, next week. He added that Thirsty Monk would begin leasing Deep Draft’s space in Denver’s City Park West neighborhood.

Additionally, Thirsty Monk announced the hiring of Crooked Stave head brewer Brian Grace, whose first day will be on October 31.

“To have a resource like that come on board for us is phenomenal,” Bialik said.

Although Grace will be based in Denver, he will oversee Thirsty Monk’s brewing network and be tasked with building the company’s open fermentation, barrel-aging and sour programs.

In Denver, Thirsty Monk has already begun brewing beer on Deep Draft’s system, but the taproom will close for about a month as the space is rebranded, Bialik said.

Since the Portland transaction has not been finalized, Bialik couldn’t name the beer bar that Thirsty Monk has said it would acquire. However, he said the bar will continue to operate under its original name until sometime in early 2018 when it will be rebranded as a Thirsty Monk destination. He added that a 5-barrel brewhouse would eventually be installed at the Portland location. Until then, the bar will receive shipments of beer from Denver.

Bialik said he envisions each brewing location producing about 600 barrels of beer annually and supporting each other with product.

“That allows us to have a lot more variation,” he said. “We’re not trying to make the same beer in each place. It’s going to be regional and a little different and that will move from location to location.”

Thirsty Monk currently operates four Asheville locations, including two beer bars, a coffee shop that also serves beer and a cocktail club. Bialik said the company is on pace to brew about 400 barrels of beer this year.

Expansion plans also call for the eventual construction of a 15-barrel brewery in Asheville, he added.

“That’s our version of large,” he said. “We have the property for that already, it’s just getting the business designs.”

A press release with more information is included below.

DENVER, CO and PORTLAND, OR— Asheville, North Carolina-born Thirsty Monk, brewer of Belgian-Rooted Modern Ales and operator of world-recognized craft beer bars, announced today its expansion into Denver, Colorado and Portland, Oregon. Brian Grace, former Crooked Stave Head Brewer and Jolly Pumpkin Production Manager, has been hired as Head Brewer of the entire brewery group to assist with this growth. He will be based in Denver.

“Denver and Portland will be much more than just second homes to Thirsty Monk,” says Barry Bialik, Thirsty Monk CEO. “We will embrace the beer, food, and craft cultures in each of the cities, and operate as a true local brewery and pub. Thirsty Monk has always been about sharing beer knowledge and the European pub culture. Being in Denver and Portland will help us learn from some of the country’s best craft beer markets, and to design beers influenced by all the communities we call home.”

Asheville brewing operations will remain under the tutelage of Norm Penn, who has been promoted to Vice President of Thirsty Monk. Thirsty Monk Downtown and Biltmore Park will continue to serve the growing selection of Thirsty Monk beers along side curated, rotating guest taps. “As our Brother Noah Belgian Chocolate Stout is brewed in Asheville using chocolate nibs from our friends at French Broad Chocolate, Brother Noah brewed in Denver will utilize a local Colorado chocolatier and Brother Noah brewed in Portland will be made with local Oregon chocolate. “Imagine that vertical tasting!” says Penn.

DENVER, COLORADO

Thirsty Monk will close on the purchase of a 12-Barrel existing brewery in Denver this month and will start immediate beer production there. Plans include a remodel of the existing taproom, slated for grand opening after Thanksgiving 2017. Head Brewer Brian Grace will be based in Denver, brewing Thirsty Monk beers and spearheading the creation of open fermentation, barrel aging and sour programs.

Brian Grace began his brewing career with Moylan’s in California before heading to Jolly Pumpkin in Michigan and then Crooked Stave in Denver. “We are so excited to have Brian join our Monk family, not just because he’s a well-respected Head Brewer, but also, he’s a creative and kind person. Good people make better beer,” says Bialik.

PORTLAND, OREGON

In November, Thirsty Monk will close on the purchase of a well-known Portland beer bar. Operations will continue under the Portland location’s existing name until sometime early 2018, when it will shift to serve Thirsty Monk beers out of Denver. Thirsty Monk also plans to install a small batch brewhouse in its Portland location, and serve a selection of guest taps while brewing operations get going.

“We’re expanding Thirsty Monk in a whole new way, linking a network of localized brewing hubs. Smart growth, craft-style. No need to sell the soul to expand. Our soul, creative spirit and community roots are what we and our beers are all about,” adds Bialik.

For more information about Thirsty Monk’s expansion, contact Emily Hutto at coop@radcraftbeer.com.

ABOUT THIRSTY MONK

Thirsty Monk, founded in 2008, brews Belgian-Rooted Modern Ales in Asheville, NC, a world recognized craft beer destination. Thirsty Monk currently operates Thirsty Monk Downtown, Thirsty Monk Biltmore Park, Top of the Monk craft cocktail bar, and Brother Joe’s Coffee Pub, all in Asheville. Find the company online at monkpub.com.

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