“We’re thrilled to partner with Deschutes as we launch into the craft beer market in Illinois,” explained Julian Burzynski, Wirtz Beverage Illinois Senior Vice President in a press release. “The growth and innovation of the Deschutes brands is a perfect match to our progressive approach to the business.” Deschutes brands will be the first one to be carried by Wirtz' new craft beer team.
Among the production beers to be brought into Chicago will be Deschutes' Red Chair Northwest Pale Ale, recently named the “World’s Best Beer” at the World Beer Awards. Other initial releases will include Mirror Pond Pale Ale; Chainbreaker White IPA; and Black Butte Porter, the nation’s number one selling craft porter. The beers will all be available in six-packs and draft. The press release does not mention if this winter we might see The Abyss, a winter seasonal Barrel-aged Imperial Stout brewed with licorice and molasses, which currently ranks #29 on RateBeer's list of the world's Top 50 beers. But I'd bet its handle might be seen at a debut tapping party or two.
“Partnering with Wirtz Beverage made great sense for us, as the company’s experience and relationships in the industry are unmatched in the marketplace,” said Andy Tysler, national sales director for Deschutes Brewery. “We are looking forward to bringing our beers to the third largest city in the nation, and filling the increasing demand for craft beer in the region.”
Deschutes was founded in 1988 as a brew pub in downtown Bend, Oregon. In addition to its original Bend pub, the brewery opened a second pub in Portland’s Pearl District in 2008. The company’s main brewing facility is located in Bend’s Old Mill District and produces approximately 250,000 barrels of beer annually for distribution in 19 states and two provinces.
Wirtz Beverage Illinois is the state’s most established alcohol beverage distributor with operations statewide serving premium wine, spirits and craft beer brands. The company is an affiliate of Wirtz Beverage Group, one of the nation’s leading alcohol beverage distributors. With nearly $2 billion in annual sales and 3,000 employees, Wirtz Beverage Group has operations in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada and Wisconsin.
Also, this Wednesday, check out my Musical Cheese radio show. Listen in at 9:00 p.m. on WIIT, 88.9 FM, from the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology. If you live more than a mile away from State and 31st, check the live stream at radio.iit.edu.