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Sly Fox beers in the metropolitan New York City area and on Long Island will now be distributed by Manhattan Beer Distributors, Inc., the fourth largest beer wholesaler in the country according to Beverage Age magazine. The first shipment to their warehouses, the largest ever in Sly Fox history, will be picked up at the Royersford brewery tomorrow.

Distribution rights to the Sly Fox brand for the five-county Philadelphia area were acquired by Origlio Beverage, the largest wholesaler in the region, in April. Taken together, the two moves give Sly Fox beers extensive additional exposure and availability in two of the major beer markets in the nation.

"The nice thing about all this," says Sly Fox managing partner John Giannopoulos, "is that these major distributors came after us and our brand. Both Origlio and Manhattan formed Specialty Beer divisions this year and both of them wanted Sly Fox as a major player in their expansion in the craft beer segment."

"The worrisome thing about all this," laughs Sly Fox brewmaster Brian O'Reilly, "is that we have to be able to make all the beer these guys can sell. Success is wonderful but it brings with it some of its own problems. Of course, for a brewer, there are a lot worse issues to deal with than having people clamoring for your beer."

Giannopoulos said that Sly Fox is looking into ways to expand its production capabilities in the short term and might consider building its own new plant in the future. "We are in the process of leasing a off-location site nearby to install a second, much larger cold box we've just acquired, as well as to store pre-filled cans and glass, and maybe some of our hops, malt and other supplies. The idea is to free up space in the brewery for additional tanks and open the possibility of running a second shift as needed to fill demand."

"Beer is already moving out of here almost as fast as we can package or rack it," admits brewery operations manager Tim Ohst. "Scheduling and logistics are really vital matters at this point."

Manhattan Beer Distributors serves more than 20,000 accounts through five facilities, one each in Brooklyn, Queens, Hudson Valley,and Long Island. It acquired Sly Fox by buying Niche Brands, a small specialty distributor created by Manny Calderon, primarily to sell Sly Fox beer. Sly Fox's original Philadelphia distributor was Edward I. Friedland, which had several other local craft brands and a wide range of imports, mostly Belgian, in its portfolio. Friedland was purchased by Kunda Beverage in 2006 and Origlio negotiated a deal with that company to get the Sly Fox brand early this year. Orgiglio started as a small retail operation in 1933 and expanded into distribution in the 1950s. Today the company is one of the nation's fastest-growing beer wholesalers.

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