ST. LOUIS — St. Louis craft beer stalwart Saint Louis Brewery, maker of Schlafly Beer, is entering the nonalcoholic beer segment, inking a joint venture with Wellbeing Brewing Co., a local producer of alcohol-free craft beers.
The joint venture is a deal the two companies say will help scale Wellbeing’s production and sales while providing Schlafly with a new source of revenue and an inroad in the fast-growing nonalcoholic beer market. As part of the joint venture, Schlafly will take over Wellbeing’s sales and production functions, while Wellbeing will remain responsible for its product development, e-commerce and marketing initiatives.
“I think we’ve hit on a unique and comfortable collaboration where we do what we do best and (Wellbeing CEO Jeff Stevens) does what he does best,” said Fran Caradonna, CEO of Saint Louis Brewery.
As part of the joint venture, the two companies will share gross profits, Caradonna said. Wellbeing will retain its current ownership structure.
Founded in 2018 by Stevens and Genevieve Barlow, WellBeing produces an array of nonalcoholic craft beers and sparkling waters. Schlalfy is one of the region’s largest local craft beer brands, producing 24,000 barrels of beer in 2020. It also operates four brewpubs in the St. Louis region.
With just three-full time employees, Stevens said the joint venture provides Wellbeing a team and brewing infrastructure to expand its production and distribution into new retail locations.
“Schlafly has been in business for 30 years. They’ve built a platform of operations, logistics, brewing, sales, ordering, software and all that stuff you really need to scale the wholesale side of our business,” he said.
For Schlafly, the joint venture provides it with a new brand to boost sales and revenue and provides an entrance into the growing nonalcoholic beer segment, which is expected to grow to $16.6 billion in global sales this year, up 10.3% over last year.
“We’re always looking at innovation and this space has had our attention for a while,” Caradonna said. “Consumers are drinking less, period, and they are drinking differently than they were 10, 15, 20 years ago. This is one of the areas that we’ve been looking at in innovation.”
Caradonna said she expects Schlafly’s sales team will be able to integrate Wellbeing’s beer into its operations pretty seamlessly.
Read the full story at the St. Louis Business Journal website.