Can Atwater Brewery find new markets in Chicago and Boston? That’s what the company is banking on, according to a report by Crain’s. It seems the Detroit-based brewer has big ambitions beyond Michigan and is eyeing opportunities to develop new taprooms and small-scale brewing outposts in Boston and Chicago.
The Chicago Tribune reports that despite Atwater’s increased production the brand has struggled to find a foothold in the Illinois market. CEO Mark Reith hopes that by establishing a taproom, Chicago consumers will start drinking more Atwater brews.
"We’ve been studying the market in Chicago for more than a year, and it’s a very important market," Reith says. "Our presence there is not what we want it to be. This would be the next step."
Locations for Boston and Chicago have yet to be announced. For the Windy City, the company is planning a full-scale taphouse and restaurant with a beer garden in line with Atwater in the Park by 2018. The building would be outfitted with a small five to 10-barrel brewing system.
While Reith seems confident that the brand can penetrate the competitive Chicago market, other Michigan-based brewers aren’t so sure. "Both of those markets are incredibly competitive," Bells Brewery owner Larry Bell tells Crain’s. "There are about 50 brewers operating in the Chicago city limits right now. I think they are going to have their work cut out for them."
The company, which will soon open another taproom in Grand Rapids, has doubled its production in recent years and redesigned its labels. Atwater is also in the process of building production facilities in Austin, Texas, and North Carolina.
- Detroit's Atwater Brewery Expands, Looks to Tap Into National Market [Crain’s]
- Detroit's Atwater Brewery Weighs Opening in Chicago [Chicago Tribune]
- All Atwater Coverage [ED]