Cincy’s Urban Artifact expands to New York and New Jersey + news from Tombstone, Rick’s Near Beer and more

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With exactly one zillion breweries operating across America, distribution news is always a steady constant in the CBB mailbox. Every week, we get announcements on new alliances, upcoming state expansions and even reductions from breweries growing and shrinking their distribution footprints. Here is some of that wholesaler news. Enjoy! If you have distribution news, send it to [email protected].

Urban Artifact expands retail distribution to New York and New Jersey

Urban Artifact, an award winning Cincinnati brewery, recently announced it is expanding its distribution to include New York and New Jersey. From the five boroughs to upstate to the shore, Urban Artifact’s real fruit beer will be all along the East Coast.

Urban Artifact is currently sold in Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Wisconsin, France (Yes, in Europe) and now West Virginia. This means Urban Artifact lovers can now find Fruit Tarts year-round in a total of 19 states and two countries.

Urban Artifact specializes in — and coined the beer style designation Fruit Tarts — which is an ale focused on fermenting out real fruit highlighting the fruit’s flavor, color and aroma characteristics. Its flagship products include: Gadget, a blackberry-raspberry Midwest Fruit Tart; Teak, a tropical American Fruit Tart; Peaches & Cream, a peach nitro Fruit Tart; Spyglass, a lemon-lime Fruit Tart; and Pickle, an ale brewed with cucumber and dill.

Urban Artifact’s runaway sensation, Teak, was ranked in the World’s Top 20 Beers in 2022 by Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine. The industry publication called Urban Artifact the “master of the modern American fruit beer.”

Austin-based NA brand Rick’s Near Beer will hit shelves all over Texas

Rick’s Near Beer is rolling out its lineup of non-alcoholic craft beers and beverages at retail stores across the southern half of Texas, including HEB, Total Wine, Whole Foods, and more. Rick’s will hit shelves across southern Texas with two varieties of non-alcoholic beers, a delicious and crisp pilsner dubbed Rick’s Original and a juicy IPA — Rick’s Hazy. Both the Original and Hazy are refreshing low-strength beverages brewed with premium malted barley, fine American hops, and Rocky Mountain water. At less than 0.5% ABV, Rick’s is refreshing, consistent, and exciting.

The recently released Rick’s Crispy Hop Water, a sparkling beverage that uses a unique blend of hops to give it refreshingly nuanced, citrus flavor, will also be available at retail stores in the state. Rick’s Crispy Hop Water is full of notes of tangerine, pineapple, and grapefruit and is the perfect way to relax during the hot Texas summer. It can be enjoyed as a standalone drink or used as a mixer in a delicious cocktail.

Founded by Certified Cicerone Josh Hare, the entrepreneur behind Texas-based beverage brands Hops & Grain Brewing and Pint & Plow Brewing, Rick’s Near Beer launched in December 2022 not as an alternative but a complement to alcohol that can be enjoyed morning, noon, and night.

“We are on a mission to make non-alcoholic beverages a go-to for all kinds of people. We’re excited to expand our retail space beyond Rick’s Place in East Austin and reach people across Texas,” said Hare. “Pick up a pack of Rick’s at your nearest retailer anytime you want a beer, but know you shouldn’t.”

Find the nearest store with Rick’s Locator or order six-packs of Rick’s Crispy Hop Water ($8), Rick’s Hazy ($12) and Rick’s Original ($10) online.

Tombstone Brewing and Scout Distribution partner for Arizona distro

Scout Distribution Arizona, a leading distributor of high-quality beverages, recently announced a partnership with Tombstone Brewing Co., a highly esteemed brewery based in Tombstone, Arizona. Scout Distribution Arizona is already distributing Tombstone Brewing beers in select counties throughout the state.

Tombstone Brewing has garnered a well-deserved reputation for crafting outstanding beers that captivate beer enthusiasts across the state. With a steadfast dedication to producing the highest caliber ales and lagers, Tombstone Brewing has successfully positioned itself as a sought after staple within the Arizona craft beer scene.

“Tombstone Brewing Company has built a reputation for producing an amazing and diverse lineup of beers,” said Bryan Paul, vice president and general manager of Scout Distribution Arizona. “They have done a great job distributing their beers in the market, and we look forward to expanding the solid footprint John Russ has created. Founder Matt Brown has shown his commitment to his people, his facilities, and, most importantly, turning out high-quality beers that are sought out throughout the state. We look forward to a long-term partnership growing and developing Tombstone Brewing Company.”

“We couldn’t be more excited to announce that we will be partnering with Scout Distribution Arizona to represent our brand throughout most of Arizona. Their portfolio is second to none, and the same is true of their sales force and management. We look forward to building our brand with them,” said Matt Brown, founder of Tombstone Brewing.

This strategic collaboration between Scout Distribution Arizona and Tombstone Brewing will undoubtedly provide beer lovers across the state with even greater access to the exceptional beers that have made Tombstone Brewing a household name. The partnership aims to expand the reach of Tombstone Brewing, bringing its remarkable selection of beers to a wider audience. Scout will distribute TBC products to the entire state with the exception of Cochise, Graham and Greenlee Counties.

Tombstone Brewing was founded in 2016 to bring world class beer to the Town Too Tough to Die. Started in legendary Tombstone, Arizona, and now brewing in the heart of Phoenix as well as Sierra Vista, the brewery seeks to create inviting, laid-back environments where people can casually gather for a pint as well as an exciting destination within a destination for beer lovers in its flagship location — crafting ales and lagers that range from the traditional to the far reaches of what beer can be.

Asian American-themed Lunar Hard Seltzer expands its distribution network to include California

Just in time for summer, Lunar Hard Seltzer announced its expansion into California, bringing its full line of craft hard seltzers made with real Asian fruits to the West Coast for the first time and marking a significant milestone in the company’s growth plans. With this expansion into the Golden State, enthusiasts no longer need to visit the East Coast to enjoy Lunar’s highly acclaimed seltzers, which come in a variety eight-pack and four-packs of Yuzu, Lychee, Korean Plum and Passion Fruit.

“Since 2020, we’ve received pics from fans who crammed Lunars into their luggage when flying back to the West Coast,” said Cofounder Sean Ro. “We’re thrilled to finally make their journey a bit easier.”

As a NYC-based brand, Lunar has deliberately expanded distribution across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic over the past two years, tracking a combination of factors like customer waitlist size, on-premise sophistication, and route-to-market.

“This expansion has been years in the making for us. While our California email waitlist is our largest segment, we wanted to ensure we had the right team, a solid supply chain and great partnerships ready to support the market,” says co-founder Kevin Wong.

To get their products into the hands of local consumers, Lunar has partnered with Lime Ventures across the state.

“We’ve been eagerly waiting to partner with Lunar ever since they came on the scene,” said Marie Davenport, co-owner of Lime Ventures. “Their infectious enthusiasm, innovative approach, delicious product, and proven brand clearly resonate with consumers of all types, and so we’re looking forward to our partnership.”

Lunar’s launch partners in California include BevMo!, 99 Ranch Market, Total Wine & More, Gus’s Community Markets, Bi-Rite, and Berkeley Bowl.

“As today’s consumers continue to shift to the flavor category, our focus on innovative flavors made with real fruit juice puts us in a perfect position to exceed our growth plans and continue driving top tier velocities as we scale the brand,” said Wong.

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