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In Packs and Off-Premise, Revolution is Thriving

A strong off-premise retail strategy—including smart packaging decisions—is helping to keep Chicago’s Revolution Brewing afloat during the pandemic.

Kate Bernot Nov 10, 2020 - 12 min read

In Packs and Off-Premise, Revolution is Thriving Primary Image

Left: The brewery launched their flagship Anti-Hero IPA in 12-packs in May. Right: sales of larger format packaging, like these 15-packs of Everyday Hero session IPA, have risen dramatically since March.

Under normal circumstances, Revolution Brewing has its hands in a few different pots. Its revenue streams include taproom and brewpub sales; distributor-facilitated draft and packaged sales in nine states; and fees for use of its facilities as wedding venues roughly 100 times per year. Together, these facets propelled Revolution to Number 40 on the Brewers Association’s 2020 list of largest American craft breweries by sales volume.

Then came COVID-19. Wedding parties canceled; the taproom closed; draft sales dried up. Kegged beer typically represents 40 percent of Revolution’s total production, but the brewery didn’t keg a drop of beer for three months after the pandemic hit. Even as some states re-opened bars and restaurants in late summer, draft sales were still down to about half of what the brewery would expect from mid-June to mid-July. Off-premise wholesale has always been one of Revolution’s strengths, but it became a life preserver as draft sales plummeted.

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