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Gluten-free Marketing Boost

Bard's Tale turns to ex-Pabst managers

Jan 25, 2007 - Bard's Tale Beer, which markets its sorghum-based beer to celiacs and others with allergic to wheat, has hired the former management time from Pabst.

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Brian Kovalchuk, the new CEO, and new chief financial officer Brian Bizer both worked at Pabst from 2001 to 2005. During that period, Kovalchuk oversaw the company's turnaround, slashing debt and bringing the company back to profitability. Its flagship PBR brand enjoyed a renaissance among young drinkers as a "hip" alternative to more mainstream brands.

Bard's Tale will move its company headquarters from Lees Summit, Mo., to Minneapolis, where Kovalchuk lives. Its beer is brewed under contract by Gordon Biersch in Palo Alto, Calif.

Selling 6,000 barrels of beer a year, Bard's Tale had been the biggest player in the "gluten-free" market, until brewing giant Anheuser-Busch began shipping Redbridge last month.

Kovalchuk has aggressive growth plans, expanding distribution from the current 19 states to all 50 and targeting sales of 70,000 barrels by 2012. Drawing on the Pabst success, Kovalchuk said he believes word-of-mouth and "buzz" marketing will help the brand more than splashy ads.


Published : Jan 25, 2007
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