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Hard Ginger Beer on the production line at Sprecher.[/caption]
When Randy Sprecher founded Sprecher Brewing Co. in 1985, he focused on European beers traditionally served in pints or liters.
At that time, there weren’t a lot of 12-ounce bottles available to the new brewery, since craft brewing suppliers didn't yet exist.
As a result, Glendale-based Sprecher packaged its beers in 16-ounce bottles and sold those bottles in four-packs at retailers.
But the brewery is now in the process of shifting to the more standard 12-ounce bottles that come in six-packs. It’s mainly driven by retailer demand, said Jeff Hamilton, president of Sprecher.
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Sprecher has gradually been phasing in 12-ounce bottles.[/caption]
“Our bottles in 16 ounces take up more shelf space because they’re wider, so the fact is that retailers can’t get as many of those on the shelf, so that’s not a good thing,” Hamilton said. “Having 12-ounce bottles will allow us to get more things on the shelf.”
Distributors also prefer to warehouse and ship things that are in standard sizes. And retailers are likely to give Sprecher’s products better placement at a standard size, he said.
“We may get one more placement at places where we had some already and we may gain more placements in areas where we couldn’t get on there because of the size of our bottle,” Hamilton said.
The transition process will be complete by this summer, he said.
“It’s not something you just snap your fingers and do overnight, so we’ve been working at that for a couple years,” Hamilton said. “Probably our last 16-ounce beer will be produced sometime in the next couple months.”
At the same time, Sprecher will be changing the branding of its labels as it resizes them to fit the new bottles.
“Premium beers have been in 12 ounces for about six years now,” Hamilton said. “They’ve had their own look. So we’ll be going to more of a single line pricing now that they’re in the same containers.”
Sprecher makes more than 20 beers of varying types each year, as well as several sodas. When it started, there were fewer than 300 craft breweries in the U.S., and now there are more than 5,000, Hamilton said.