Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Gordon Biersch may brew private label hefeweizen for Costco

By William Brand
Monday, January 28th, 2008 at 5:50 pm in Uncategorized.

BrewBlog, which is produced by an advertising agency in Milwaukee for Miller Brewing reports that the giant Costco wholesale chain has received U.S. Treasury Department Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau label approval for threCostco Hefeweizen labele Kirland label craft beers: an amber ale, a hefeweizen and a pale ale to be made by Gordon Biersch, San Jose

This would e a huge deal for Gordon Biersch. Costco, which is headquartered in Issaquah, WA, has 539 stores around the world. Being commissioned to supply even a percentage of those stores would be a boon.

As proof, BrewBlog cites this label application for Costco Hefeweizen.

I just talked to Dan Gordon at Gordon Biersch. He said that although the label may be approved, no deal with Costco has been signed. Gordon Biersch already makes a string of private label craft beers for Trader Joe’s, the big California chain. Also, until recently, Gordon Biesch supplied its famous garlic fries in frozen boxes for Costco.

That deal ended, Dan Gordon said, because they lost a large supplier, signed on with a moderate-sized supplier, which couldn’t keep up with the demand.

Today, the only way to get those very excellent fries is at AT&T Park in San Francisco and the Colisum in Oakland.

Anyway, what interests me in the Costco deal is that is shows once again how popular craft beer is becoming. The segment may only have 3 percent of the total beer market in the United States, but it’s a healthy, booming segment. In fact, if you add Coors Blue Moon and the beer made by companies partly owned by Anheuser-Busch like Redhook Ale Brewry, the segment’s pushing 4 percent at the very least.

So the Costco deal’s no surprise. This is a company that’s long been on top of trends.

Craft beer, I believe, is far more than a trend: It’s the future of beer in America.

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