The awards recognize the brewers who do the best job in the marketplace producing great beer; building strong partnerships; providing valuable education; and offering support to their distributor customers in order to bring their beers to market.
“KettleHouse is one of the more than 4,000 breweries that are generating such excitement for beer around this country and providing the American consumer with unprecedented choice and quality,” said NBWA President & CEO Craig Purser. “The U.S. is enjoying a Golden Age for beer thanks to a robust and competitive system of independent distribution, which provides access to market for brewers of all sizes, creates a competitive playing field for brewers of all sizes and generates excitement for consumers.”
“America’s beer distributors look forward to celebrating the success of each of these brands and recognizing many more innovative and collaborative brewers in the future,” Purser added.
KettleHouse Brewing Co. was founded in 1995 by Tim O’Leary and Suzy Rizza and produced 15,000 barrels of beer in 2015.
Tim O’Leary has been a pioneer of the Montana craft movement. According to Dave Irvin of Eagle Beverage, “He started small and knows what it takes to make all the parts work in the beer business.”
When the brewery made the decision to sell its products in cans, it was through feedback from their local distributor that they decided to use 16-ounce cans instead of traditional 12-ounce units so they could be used as single-serve packages to introduce new customers to the brand at more outlets. The result has been unprecedented growth and a real challenge to keep up with capacity demands. As a result of this success, the brewery is in the process of a new production facility that will enable them to meet the demands of their distributors.
In recalling a conversation with a prospective distributor, O’Leary explained, “Our job is to make theirs easier because we know how hard the logistics are for getting our product to market. We know that in this point-and-click world we now live in, relationships still sell beer. Our distributors have spent decades building relationships, and we do not want to screw that up.”