Jacksonville’s Wicked Barley Brewing Co. and Cavalier Distributing have entered into a distribution agreement, as officially announced today. Through this partnership, Cavalier adds its first Jacksonville craft brewery to its portfolio.
Wicked Barley Brewing opened its brewpub on the banks of Goodby’s Creek in Jacksonville in July 2016. The brewpub houses a 15-barrel brewing system, a full kitchen, dining room, bar featuring 20 rotating taps, covered outdoor deck, outdoor beer garden, and 100-foot waterfront dock. In addition to its craft beers, Wicked Barley also brews cider and mead on site.
The brewpub recently received top honors as the “Best Brewpub in Florida” at the Best Florida Beer Championships held last month in Tampa (see March 6 story). The crew also notched a special award for Best Small Batch for its Dortmunder Export, complementing Gold Medals for its Dortmunder Export and Gose, and a Silver Medal for its Orange Blossom Mead.
Wicked Barley offers several flagship beers, including its Left Leg Lager, Drink Me Copper Pale Ale, Eradicator Double IPA, and Big Red Monkey India Red Ale, in addition to small batches and rotating brews. The brewery cans its lager and pale ale onsite.
In an interview with BrewNymph.com, Co-founder, President and Brewmaster Philip Maple stated that Wicked Barley, which had been looking at distributors for about six months, saw Cavalier as the best fit in view of the distributor’s “focus on developing craft breweries.” He added, “Coupled with the success we have seen with M.I.A. Beer Co. and the Cavalier partnership, this to us was a no brainer.”
For the time being, several Wicked Barley beers will be served on draft locally at selected establishments around the Jacksonville area. With the physical size of Jacksonville, Wicked Barley hopes that beer drinkers will see its beers on tap and be encouraged to visit the brewpub, even if it is across town for some. “We realize Jax is a huge place, and not everyone has a desire to come over to Baymeadows, but at least we can get our beer in their hands more often now,” Philip comments. While distribution was always part of the brewery’s plan, the crew’s initial focus was to produce consistent and quality beer before taking the step into distribution. The brewery had been considering distribution partners for about six months. As demand grows in the local market, Wicked Barley will look to expand its distribution footprint further. Says Philip: “One day we’d like to be all over Florida, but that will require a few more tanks, so Jax, keep drinking our beer!”
Carolyn Graham, Cavalier’s District Sales Manager for North Florida, confirms the distribution plan: “The primary focus will be Duval, Clay, St. Johns, Baker, Nassau [counties]. Our plan is to grow the home market first, and then grow organically, as production increases.” When asked her thoughts about the new partnership, Carolyn added that she has known the Wicked Barley crew for a long time and is “excited to see all their dreams and hard work come to fruition. They are making some great beer, and it will be rewarding to grow our markets together.” Further, she adds that Wicked Barley filters all of the brewhouse water through a reverse osmosis water filtration system. “Every beer recipe has a specific water profile that is created from the base pure water.”
Launch events are scheduled around the Jacksonville area beginning April 4, as follows:
April 4 – 6pm: V Pizza/Tap Garden, Mandarin, Jax
April 5 – 5pm: Really Good Beer Stop, Jax Beach
April 6 – 6pm: Alewife Bottleshop & Tasting Room, Jax
April 7 – 5pm: Pub Crawl around San Marco, starting at Beer:30 San Marco, Jax with hourly stops at The Bearded Pig, Kitchen on San Marco, Bold Bean, and Grape & Grain Exchange
Wicked Barley Brewing Co. is located at 4100 Baymeadows Rd., Jacksonville and is open 7 days a week.
Cavalier Distributing, “The Craft Beer Authority,” is based in Blue Ash/Cincinnati, Ohio and distributes craft beverages in Indiana, Ohio and Florida. Its Florida facilities are located in Lakeland. The distributor is celebrating its 25th year.
Read the Cavalier Distributing announcement here.
Linda Johnson, Certified Cicerone®
Covering Florida’s beer scene and locally around North Florida