The local micobrewer is now ramping up production of its nationally known craft beers following a sale of the brewery to ex-Anheuser-Busch marketing executive Jim Gorczyca. The sale closed on Fri., May 20. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Evan Benn first broke the news last night here.)
O'Fallon Brewery experienced several difficult years with flat sales and the inability to expand capacity, which resulted in significant financial losses leading to the brewery sale.
Founded by Fran and Tony Caradonna in 2000, O'Fallon Brewery produced 6,500 barrels of craft-style beer in 2010 with draft beer being produced at the brewery's O'Fallon headquarters and bottled product being custom-brewed and packaged at Stevens Point Brewery in Wisconsin. Currently, O'Fallon produces five year-round beers and four seasonal beers that are sold in 11 states throughout the Midwest.
"The O'Fallon Brewery has an impressive market reputation for producing high-quality craft style beers," Gorczyca says.
O'Fallon's Smoked Porter won a gold medal at the 2004 Great American Beer Festival. And, the 5-Day IPA was named St. Louis' 2008 Beer of the Year by the Riverfront Times. More recently, O'Fallon won the silver medal in the 2009 Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am competition.
Gorczyca says he "had been looking to purchase a craft brewery known for its high-quality products and growth potential. I was well aware of O'Fallon's excellent reputation in the beer industry. The fact they are based in the St. Louis-metropolitan area, my hometown, is a huge plus."
He expects to retain O'Fallon Brewery's key employees including the Caradonnas and head brewer Brian Owens, who was the brewery's first employee in 2002.
In addition to purchasing O'Fallon Brewery, Gorczyca announced new distributing arrangements with Grey Eagle Distributors in Maryland Heights and Krey Distributing Company in St. Peters.
Grey Eagle will sell and distribute O'Fallon's five brands in St. Louis and major parts of Franklin and Gasconade counties. Krey will sell and deliver the O'Fallon beer products in its service area of St. Charles, Lincoln, Warren and Montgomery counties.
O'Fallon Brewery will concentrate on its five existing brands and will look to introduce new seasonal craft beers.
"The craft beer segment is one of the fastest growing in the beer industry, and we will work hard to make sure O'Fallon remains among the elite craft brewers in the nation," Gorczyca says.
Take a rare behind-the-scenes tour of O'Fallon Brewery with head brewer Brian Owens.