While the United States is more or less synonymous with the ever-growing craft beer market, other countries are beginning to throw their hats into the ring and teaming up with stateside distributors to get their products into the hands of American craft beer drinkers.
One of these companies is Sublime Imports, a Dallas, TX-based distributor specializing in Mediterranean craft breweries, specifically those in Israel and Spain. The company is the first and only of its kind in the US, and after teaming up with Columbia-based Aleph Wines Corporation has recently entered the South Carolina marketplace.
Sublime was started by Mike Hammond, who had ties to Spain after importing tile from the country for 20 years. After moving into the beer importing world in June 2012, he focused on La Socarrada, a bottle conditioned 6% golden ale brewed with rosemary and rosemary-honey.
In August 2012, Austin Clar – a rabbi’s son who lived and studied in yeshivah in Jerusalem from June 2011 to June 2012 – met Mike and began working to help promote Sublime’s brands. But after a while, he eyed an expansion of territory and variety.
“As I became more and more involved in the company as a whole, in combination with my personal ties to Israel, I suggested we look into Israeli craft beer that I had become familiar with during my time there,” said Clar. And so in early 2013, Sublime became the only US importer of Israeli craft beer when it started distributing Malka, a brand brewed in Yehaim, Israel, and one of the first micro breweries in the country. Malka produces a range of styles, including a Belgian-style blonde ale; a Bavarian-style wheat ale; and English-style pale ales and stouts.
Sublime has a small footprint for the time being. They’re currently available in Illinois, Oregon and Georgia in addition to South Carolina. In addition to La Socarada and Malka, Mateo Y Bernabé – a Spanish craft brewery producing wheat, golden and strong dark ales – rounds out the brand represented, with two more Spanish breweries waiting in the wings.
Sublime’s brands should begin trickling out into the South Carolina marketplace soon, with an increase of supply contingent upon acceptance and demand.