Actual Brewing Co. is expanding north.
The Columbus brewery has inked a distribution deal with the new Sixth City Distribution to bring its beers to the Cleveland market.
“We’re getting ready to party Cleveland up,” Actual co-founder Fred Lee said Wednesday. (Dec. 7) “We talked with some of our Cleveland friends and we feel like there’s a good opportunity to provide our style up there.”
Actual, which produces bottles, cans and draft, expects to offer its year-round lineup in the Cleveland area starting Dec. 19. Its brands include Fat Julian Imperial Stout, Photon Light Lager and Elektron American Amber Rye.
Actual is planning several launch events in the area. The details on those are still being worked out.
Lee is excited about the Cleveland expansion.
While Cleveland has “a ton of good breweries, I think Cleveland is missing a Fat Julian. I think Cleveland is missing a Photon Light Lager,” he said.
Actual employs a 10-barrel brewing system. It hopes to produce 4,000 barrels next year. (You can check out my 2013 story about Actual's interesting beginnings here.)
The Sixth City agreement is Actual’s first distribution deal but not its first foray into another market. The brewery has self-distributed in Athens and to the Wooster-based Buehler’s Fresh Foods chain. The Actual brands have performed well at Buehler’s, Lee said.
He said he hopes that Actual branches out into Northwest Ohio and then maybe Southwest Ohio down the road. He’s also exploring going into the Indianapolis and Pittsburgh markets.
Sixth City, which was founded this year, said in a news release that Actual is the first of a handful of brands it plans to introduce in Northeast Ohio.
“We love Actual Brewing because their beer is very creative and they are laser-focused on quality.” Sixth City founder Ryan Reed said. “Actual has expanded quickly in a very competitive Columbus market and we’re thrilled to be rolling them out in Northeast Ohio.”