Marrickville’s Wildflower Blending & Brewing has re-signed with major US distributor Shelton Brothers.
The NSW brewery which specialises in its own house culture and wild yeasts has cemented its relationship with the distributor after first being signed on with them in 2018.
Wildflower is no stranger to the American brewing industry, having been invited over to brew a beer-wine hybrid for the Firestone Walker Terroir project last year.
Wildflower brewer Topher Boehm, a US native said he had always thought it would be a good move to have Wildflower’s beers available in the US.
“It was always in my mind, and pretty soon after we started we were put in touch [with Shelton] and it went from there. They are great to work with and it’s a great relationship,” Boehm said.
“It’s a big deal for our little business as there is so much beer across the water in the States.”
Wildflower and Shelton
Shelton has very specific criteria for the beers it sources, in that they have to be brewed in small batches using traditional methods, unsweetened, unfiltered and unpasteurised, made using distinctive house yeast or yeasts, with little to no use of spices or adjuncts.
This stringent criteria made the tie-up with Wildflower even more special and Wildflower’s Boehm said they now do one big shipment a year.
“I have family still in America and it’s nice for some of them to be able to walk down to their local bottle shop and buy their brother’s beer,” he said.
But it’s not just family and friends that are fans of Wildflower.
“The response from the market was good and they like what we’re doing in the sense of taking something that’s unique to us in Australia, a flavour that can’t be replicated or produced elsewhere, and that stories carries for their customers I think, though I can’t put words in their mouth but they like the beers and want us to keep sending them which is great for me!
“It’s really nice to have a relationship with a great importer and distributor whereby we do go over for events or friends are having festivals, we can have our beer there.
“Shelton are a perfect partner in that their scale exactly matches ours and what we’re looking for at the end of the day.”
Aussie beers in the US
A representative for Shelton Brothers said that Wildflower had appealed to them for reasons very specific to the brand.
“We loved the direction Topher was taking because he values nuance, expression, and is dedicated to representing a sense of place in what he makes,” they said.
“These are values that we also value highly when we consider working with a new brewery.”
Wildflower beers are available in all states that the Shelton Brothers business operates in, and the team said it had had a great response from venues.
“The reaction has been one of excitement! We have some treasured relationships with some incredible bars, restaurants, and shops across the US that handle incredibly curated selections and have trusting customers.
“So when they were able to try what Wildflower is doing, they were really really excited to get their hands on what they’ve been making.”
The Australian market might be a small one, of around 700 breweries compared to the estimated 7,500 breweries in the US according to the American Brewers Association, but Aussie brewers are making an impression, said Shelton Brothers.
“We are really excited by what is going on in Australia. We work with a few Aussie brands and are very thankful that they do such an amazing job using local ingredients, and sharing the bounty of Australian creativity with us here in the US!”