New Belgium drives deeper into East

New Belgium Brewing has announced it has signed contractual agreements with 17 distributors in the Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. areas. The deals broaden New Belgium distribution to 28 states and the District of Columbia. Those territories officially open Aug. 22. Of the 17 distributors, seven are in the Miller/Coors network, nine are Anheuser Busch/Inbev and one is independent.

“We are, of course, very excited to be working with the highest caliber distributors in such an incredibly competitive market,” New Belgium’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Director, Neil Reeve, said for a press release. “It was a difficult decision in that there were no bad options. In the end, we chose a healthy mix.”

New Belgium plans to open in all new markets with 22-ounce bottles of Fat Tire, Ranger IPA and the fall seasonal, Hoptober Ale. Trippel and Lips of Faith beers will also be available in some markets, with draft and 12-ounce packages to follow.

No deal has been signed for Montgomery County, Maryland, at this time though there are plans to open that area eventually. Because the county operates independently of the three-tier system, there are logistical challenges to all facets of assuring quality.

“New Belgium would like very much to be in Montgomery County,” said Reeve. “We are simply trying to figure out how to make it work to our standards in a way that is respectful to the distributor, New Belgium, our retailers and our beer drinkers.”