New Lakeshore Beverage CEO J.R. Hand has wasted little time beefing up the craft beer portfolio of the newly merged City Beverage and River North Beer. Multiple sources have confirmed that Founders Brewing is leaving its current wholesaler, Louis Glunz Beer Inc, for Lakeshore.
The move will be effective once Glunz depletes its inventory of Founders beer, according to a source.
Founders is the fifth large, well-known brewer to leave Glunz since December of 2012. In late 2012 Dogfish Head and New Holland departed Glunz for Chicago Beverage Systems. In 2013 North Coast and Three Floyds left for Windy City Distribution.
Glunz has filled the gap by adding a few well-known Wisconsin-based breweries to its portfolio including: O’so Brewing, Furthermore Beer and Pecatonica Beer Company as well as Gigantic Brewing out of Portland, Oregon.
A source tells us Lakeshore is in the midst of adding more brands, but the distributor is mum on which ones. One brewer that makes sense, at least geographically, is Lazy Magnolia. The Mississippi-based brewery announced in January it would be coming to Chicago but has yet to publicly name a wholesaler. The Hand Family owned distributors are based almost exclusively in the south but none currently distribute Lazy Magnolia’s beers.
And then there’s Sweetwater Brewing, who has completed the necessary paperwork to enter Illinois but has no formal plans to do so. Sweetwater is currently distributed by a number of Hand Family wholesalers. The brewery tell us it has its paperwork squared away in order to take part in a beer-of-the-month club based in Illinois.
We’ve reached out to Lakeshore Beverage and the PR firm for Louis Glunz Beer Inc and are awaiting comment.
We’ve heard back from Glunz’s PR firm who passed along the following statement:
“After 12 years, Louis Glunz Beer, Inc. is no longer distributing Founders Brewing Company to the Chicagoland area. The team at Louis Glunz Beer, Inc. wishes the brewery all the best in its future endeavors.”
In terms of incoming business, the spokesperson noted Glunz has recently added Sonoma Cider, Uncle John’s Cider and Sublime Imports.