Bluegrass hopes to expand its reach

East Coast craft beers fans alert. Bluegrass Brewing Co. has designs on your tastebuds.

The company has expanded its market into Virginia, a step in an expansion plan to encompass a number of East Coast markets, according to Scott Roussell, managing director of the Louisville, KY, company.

The brewery is doubling its production capacity to more than 10,000 barrels, in excess of 130,000 cases.

Specialty Beverage of Richmond, Va., is the distributor. The company specializes in craft beers and imports, said its co-owner, Clay Gilbert.

"The craft market is up 10 percent, the fastest-growing adult (beverage) market in the country," Gilbert said in an interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal.

BBC makes five regular labels -- Altbier, American Pale Ale, Dark Star Porter, Nut Brown Ale and Jefferson Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout -- and several seasonal varieties.

Industry analysts say that while the BBC brand is not well-known in Virginia, it is established in the Louisville, Lexington and Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky markets and is advancing north into Indianapolis, Columbus, Ohio, and Cleveland.

"Our plan is by 2010 to be a regional brewery," Roussell said. "That's 15,000 barrels a year."

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