LONGMONT — If everything goes as planned, Oskar Blues beer will be available in all 50 nifty United States by the middle of next year.
Officials for the Longmont brewery announced on Friday that they’re expanding distribution into Utah and Mississippi by the end of the year, which will boost Oskar Blues’ presence to 46 states. They said they plan to reach the last four — North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma and Montana — in the first half of 2016, which would make Oskar Blues one of the few craft breweries nationwide to hit such a milestone.
The push into Mississippi will begin in November, with the brewery contracting with four distributors there. Most of the brewery’s lineup will be available.
The Utah rollout will be complete by the end of the year but will be limited to cans only because state law requires that draft beer contain a maximum of 3.2 percent alcohol by volume.
Oskar Blues grew production to 149,000 barrels last year, with $43.8 million in revenue rolling in. Spokesman Chad Melis said the brewery is projecting about 195,000 barrels this year.
About 55 percent of production currently comes from the Longmont headquarters, which in general covers distribution west of the Mississippi River. Oskar Blues’ Brevard, N.C., brewery, which opened in 2012 and is already undergoing a 17,000-square-foot expansion, covers distribution east of the Mississippi. When a new production brewery in Austin, Texas, comes online next April, that brewery will take over distribution to Texas and a couple of other neighboring states.
Excluding ancillary businesses such as restaurants, Oskar Blues’ brewing operations employ about 185 people, with more than half of those in Longmont.
In addition to the 44 states Oskar Blues currently distributes to, the brewery exports beer to Sweden, Norway, the United Kingdom and Canada.