FAIRHOPE – Fairhope Brewing Company opened its doors in 2013 with only two beers on tap and a limited draft distribution in Mobile and Baldwin counties but has grown exponentially over the last six years. Today, the company’s managing partners, Brian Kane and Jim Foley, were named Alabama’s 2019 Gold Retailers of the Year in the Annual Sales $1 Million to $5 Million category. Kane and Foley were honored today during the Alabama Retail Day awards luncheon in Birmingham.
As Lower Alabama’s first craft brewery, the partners have been community focused from the beginning. Kane said, “Rather than overthink the name and try to come up something clever and funny, we thought, ‘Just say Fairhope.’ ” The pelican in the logo also has a local flavor. “We felt like that was something that was very representative of our area,” Kane said.
Their products, however, are reaching far beyond the Eastern Shore. Fairhope Brewing Company beers are available on tap and in bottles in bars, restaurants and retailers all over the state of Alabama, the Florida panhandle and Mississippi Gulf Coast. The company has synced a custom-coded beer finder to its inventory management system, and customers can type in a city name or zip code and find a place that carries Fairhope Brewing Company on a map that is current and updated weekly.
The brewery’s taproom also offers a variety of handcrafted beers, and this experience is tied to word-of-mouth marketing. “We love having people tell their friends about what a great time they had here, about how great our beer is,” Foley said.
Fairhope Brewing Company supports its community sourcing local ingredients when possible and frequently supports local charities by hosting events at the taproom and donating beer and merchandise to fundraisers. One of the 2019 Retailer of the Year judges applauded the company for “awesome community service.”
“We could not possibly ever thank them enough for what they do for our community,” said Casey Williams, president of the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce, who nominated the partners for the award. “No matter who asks, Fairhope Brewing Company is there to lend a hand, open their doors, make things available.”
“We’re thrilled to find out that some of our hard work has been recognized,” Kane said as he accepted the award. Fairhope Brewing Company is one of 14 retail businesses honored today as Retailers of the Year. The Alabama Retailer of the Year awards, started in 1999, honor retailers who have demonstrated growth, innovation and a commitment to their respective communities. This year’s winners came from a pool of more than 70 nominees.
“Brian Kane and Jim Foley are retailers of the year EVERY year to Fairhope Brewing Company customers, their 12 employees and the Eastern Shore communities,” said Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown.
The Alabama Retail Association represents retailers, the largest private employer in the state of Alabama, before the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Through sales of food, clothing, furniture, medicine and more, our 4,200 independent merchant and national company members touch almost every aspect of daily living. Since 1943, we’ve worked to promote what’s best for the retail industry in Alabama. Whether voicing the retail view when public policy is made, educating members about issues that impact them, negotiating rates for benefits and services or communicating the retail story, the Alabama Retail Association and its members are better together.