Massachusetts Beverage Alliance (MBA) today announced the official launch of Homegrown Distribution, a boutique wholesaler focused on overlooked craft brands not currently getting enough attention from a network of five pre-existing wholesale partners across the state.

As an offshoot of MBA, Homegrown Distribution will assume statewide sales and delivery responsibilities for brands such as Brewmaster Jack, Grimm, Captain Lawrence, Slumbrew, Lone Pine, Foley Brothers, King’s Highway Fine Cider and Vermont Craft Mead as well as companies with limited Bay State distribution, including 3 Stars, Almanac, Brauhaus Riegele, Coronado Brewing Company, DC Brau, Jackie O’S, J. Wakefield, Modern Times, Une Annee and Upland Brewing Co.

“It gives us a lot more control over some of these brands that we made commitments to in the market,” Homegrown general manager Brian Murphy told Brewbound. “We thought our people could give those brands the little extra attention that they needed.”

MBA’s five members — Atlas Distributing, Burke Distributing, Colonial Wholesale Beverage, Commercial Distributing and Merrimack Valley Distributing — will relinquish sales and operational responsibilities for the above-mentioned brands beginning October 1, Murphy said. However, the brands will remain locked into their current distribution agreements, effectively making Homegrown a subcontracted wholesaler that will manage both the sales and delivery of the smaller brands.

Meanwhile, MBA, which launched in September 2011 and operates a 40,000 sq. ft. warehouse in Bellingham, Mass., will continue to manage a remaining portfolio of brands that includes Boulevard Brewing Co., Baxter Brewing, Castle Island Brewing, Rhinegeist, Revolution Brewing, Two Roads Brewing, and Notch Brewing, among others, via its network.

As part to the arrangement, about 1,300 SKUs were transferred to Homegrown, which will operate as a DBA (doing business as) of MBA. Although those brands account for a little more than half of MBA’s total SKUs, they make up less than 3 percent of MBA’s total volume.

“The amount of SKUs that they had for the volume that they were doing is very, very labor intensive for a big company,” Homegrown director of sales Keith O’Hara added. “But for a small company like us with a lot of experience, it’s something that we’re used to. They also come with a higher average price as well, which helps make it worthwhile for us.”

About a year-and-a-half ago, Murphy and O’Hara worked out an agreement with MBA member Burke Distributing to take over sales and delivery responsibilities in Boston for several brands that weren’t receiving share of mind in Burke’s portfolio.

“That year-and-a-half was kind of a test for us, in Boston first, to prove to ownership that it works,” Murphy said. “We’ve had some really good success in reversing trends of the current portfolio by about 80 percent. I think collectively those brands were down about 50 percent.”