CHICAGO (AP) — One of Chicago's signature craft breweries will soon have a national audience.
Goose Island brewery announced Friday it is expanding distribution of its Chicago-born beers to all 50 states by the end of November.
That will place the company among the ranks of the relatively few breweries whose craft beers can be bought nationwide.
Anheuser-Busch bought Goose Island last year for $38.8 million, as the mega brewers were looking to get in on the action of the expanding market for craft beer. They'll be competing with some of the nation's largest craft beers, such as Samuel Adams and Sierra Nevada.
The Chicago Tribune reported (http://trib.in/TZGyPT) that as recently as 2000, Goose Island was only sold in the Chicago area.
The company opened in 1988 at its Clybourn Avenue brew pub. Its production has spiked in recent years from about 111,000 barrels in 2009 to 150,000 last year.
Under the national distribution plan, the beer maker's biggest sellers — 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Honker's Ale, India Pale Ale and various seasonal brews — will be manufactured at Anheuser-Busch's plants in Fort Collins, Colo., and Baldwinsville, N.Y.
Goose Island founder and Chief Executive John Hall said there was no doubt the brewery would go nationwide after the sale to Anheuser-Busch.
"All the dynamics changed dramatically," he said. "It just happened quicker than we thought it would."
Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com