It was only a matter of time before one of the bigger BC based craft breweries decided to sell, and it looks like Postmark Brewing are the first ones to move their brand into a new direction.
First of all a refresh as to what Craft Collective Beerworks actually is. You may remember a start-up contract brewery launched in 2017 as Factory (not to be confused with the craft brewery Faculty). That contract brewery re-branded back in March and is now Craft Collective Beerworks. The facility based on Vernon drive houses a number of brands and supports other local craft breweries who need increased capacity. Their in-house brands include Haus Lager, Spectrum and Phantom while they support brands like Doan’s, Faculty, Salt Spring Island Ales and of course Postmark.
Which leads us to the news today. Postmark as a brand will be fully owned by Craft Collective. This means that the majority of Postmark’s core beer production will shift to the Craft Collective facilities and Craft Collective will operate the sales and distribution of the brand. The brewery in The Settlement Building will continue to be owned and operated by the original founders, but will be given more opportunity to focus on experimental and seasonal brews with the core lineup fully handled by Craft Collective. As well, co-founder Steve Thorp will be fully responsible for Postmark’s brand direction and marketing.
Very few acquisitions have taken place in the BC market to date, although as the industry evolves, expect that to change significantly. Previously we’ve seen Granville Island Brewing bought by Molson back in 2009, Howe Sound Brewing bought R&B in 2015 and Vancouver Island Brewing was bought by a partner of Ontario’s Muskoka Brewing in 2016. This Postmark acquisition is closest to the Howe Sound deal, as it’s between two BC based companies rather than bringing in outside investment.
We had an opportunity to sit down exclusively with Postmark co-founder Steve Thorp to learn a little more about what this exactly means for the brand moving forward.
First of all, congratulations on the news. This must be very exciting for the team.
Thank you! Yes we’re very excited to be making this announcement with Craft Collective, it’s something we’ve had in the works for the past six months.
Why has Postmark decided to make this move now?
Over the past few years we’ve been focused on growing the brand and finding new opportunities to launch our products into new markets. Last year we realized that in order for us to reach the vision we have for this brand we would need to find a way to increase our capacity and that meant either build-out an entirely new brewery or look for a partnership to assist with our growth. We’ve actually been contracting with Craft Collective for a while and this acquisition made sense as the next evolution of Postmark.
What made Craft Collective stand out, rather than other larger parent companies?
We truly believe that Craft Collective has a built-in craft beer DNA. Staying local was important to us, and the team there are great. They’ve been very aligned in how we see the future of the Postmark brand and the growth of the business. We couldn’t have asked for better partners.
Overall, what does this mean for Postmark as a brand moving forward?
Craft Collective will own the Postmark brand, and with that means our core lineup and its growth will be brewed at their facilities. This opens new doors for us to be able to produce more beer and reach markets both inside BC, Canada and internationally that we wouldn’t have been able to before. All of the Postmark partners will continue to stay on with the company, and we will get a chance to really test some interesting things with the current Railtown brewery, experiment where we couldn’t before because all our tanks were at capacity with core beer production.
Does this mean that Postmark will be more widely available?
Absolutely! One of the main reasons for the acquisition was Craft Collective’s strong sales and distribution model. We’re expecting to expand Postmark through into cities and towns in BC we couldn’t reach before, as well as nationwide and internationally.
Will this affect the current recipes?
We don’t expect to see any changes in our beer at the moment, but as with any brewery there may be small changes over time as we scale up and look to perfect our recipes in collaboration with the Craft Collective brew team. Of course this also means we get to experiment, and if we hit on something that is really exciting, it can be moved to our core lineup fairly easily.
Let’s talk about the debate of what defines “craft beer.” Some would say that by selling the brand, you’re no longer craft, what’s your take on that?
Honestly, if a local brewery has spent time building their business and pouring their heart and soul into the growth of that business, then there’s something to be said about finding ways to make that business succeed at the next level. We’re still local, we are locally owned and operated, which I think is an important factor in how you define craft beer. People judge when breweries are acquired, but the reality is that’s the nature of a growing business, you sometimes need that extra boost to move to a whole new level. We live and breathe Postmark, and this deal means opening new doors and new areas for people to enjoy our brand, and we couldn’t be happier.
Well again, congratulations on the news and thanks for chatting with us.