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Old 01-10-2007, 12:31 AM   #1
todd_k
 
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This can't be good....

"Old Dominion Brewery Sale Appears Imminent

Thomas Heath
Source: The Washington Post
Copyright 2007, The Washington Post Co. All Rights Reserved
01/08/2007


Old Dominion Brewing, whose pub is a favorite of the high-tech crowd near Dulles International Airport and whose microbrews are sold throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, is close to being sold -- and the buyers may be connected to the most macro brewery of all. Old Dominion President Jerry Bailey said the sale could happen any day. He declined to identify the buyers, but people close to the microbrewery said the sale would involve Ram's Head Tavern, a Baltimore-based brewery chain, and beer giant Anheuser-Busch.

Regulars are already getting nervous. "The concern is growing over whether they will continue to sell those same beers," said Jack Chungo, 54, a salesman who is a frequent customer. "The majority of people I know have a particular favorite."

Kyle Muehlhauser, a principal at Ram's Head Tavern, did not return phone calls and messages left for him. A spokesman for Anheuser-Busch said the company had no comment.

Bailey said he thought it was unlikely the new owners would change the beers.

"I can't imagine anybody buying a place like this and not keeping the only thing we got," Bailey said. "The brand is the most valuable thing we own."

"We have signed a letter of intent with someone, but we are not confirming or denying any of the other stuff," said Bailey, adding that he was selling the company in order to liquidate his equity.

Customers who had heard the rumors last week said that they are worried that new ownership would bring in new brands of beer, replacing Old Dominion's house brands, including Dominion Ale, Dominion Lager, Tuppers' Hop Pocket Pils, Old Dubliner and Aviator brews, as well as special beers for each season of the year. Nearly 20 brands, all of which are brewed on site, are sold on tap at the pub. The brewery is in an office park in Ashburn, near the Washington and Old Dominion Trail, and is a favorite stop for runners and bike riders.

Old Dominion also brews special recipes for local restaurants including the Dubliner, J. Paul's and the Hard Times Cafe. Murphy's Grand Irish Pub in Alexandria sells Old Dominion beer under house brands Murphy's Ale and Murphy's Blonde.

Bailey owns 22 percent of the company, which includes the pub as well as the brewery operation. The next biggest partner owns 10 percent, and there are 82 investors, he said.

Bailey, 67, a former employee of the Agency for International Development, founded Old Dominion in 1989. The company started brewing in 1990 and in 2006 sold the equivalent of 27,000 barrels of beer and 6,000 barrels of soft drink, making Old Dominion the 50th-largest brewery in the country, Bailey said. Each barrel is equal to 13.78 cases of 24 bottles each. About half of Old Dominion's beer is sold on tap and the other half in bottles.

"We have done quite well," Bailey said. He estimated that the company is worth $4 million to $6 million, but declined to name the sale price. He said one consultant had estimated the Old Dominion brand alone to be worth $2 million.

A former employee of Old Dominion is scheduled to go on trial this spring on charges of embezzling more than $100,000 from the firm. Bailey said the sale was not related to the incident.

Old Dominion announced last March that it was being sold to one of its managers, but the sale did not go through. Sources familiar with the current deal spoke on the condition of anonymity because the sale has not been completed. "


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Old 01-10-2007, 02:01 AM   #2
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This is sad news if they do in fact change up the beers. I just recently discovered the oak barrel stout and really enjoy it.


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Old 01-10-2007, 02:22 AM   #3
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I had their Millenium Ale at Legend. It was served as their featured guest cask ale. It was awesome.
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Old 01-10-2007, 02:42 AM   #4
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Damn... I leave NoVA and look what happens.
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Old 01-10-2007, 04:25 AM   #5
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Damn AB!!! First they buy Rolling Rock and plan to move it to Trenton, NJ of all places!!! Now this?

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Old 01-10-2007, 04:50 AM   #6
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That sucks, but the good beers will remain. Even if the a-holes at A-B are involved, they aren't stupid enough to mess it up.

All this is is corporate giant taking a slice of a good thing. They can't/won't do it themselves so they buy everyone out.

Looks like I'll stop buying Old Dominion products now. Gotta make my own oak barrel stout I guess.
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Old 01-10-2007, 05:08 AM   #7
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Maybe AB can at least show them how to brew more consistently. From my experience, no two batches of Hop Pocket were ever the same. Some would be great, and others really below average.

I think they're a decent brewery, with the Oak Barrel Stout being their only really exceptional beer. I do hate to see another little guy go down, but it's not like Rogue, Stone, or Bear Republic is being bought out.
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Old 01-10-2007, 05:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dude
That sucks, but the good beers will remain. Even if the a-holes at A-B are involved, they aren't stupid enough to mess it up.

All this is is corporate giant taking a slice of a good thing. They can't/won't do it themselves so they buy everyone out.

Looks like I'll stop buying Old Dominion products now. Gotta make my own oak barrel stout I guess.

I've never had an Old Dominion beer in my life.

That said, remember, AB screwed up Michelob, the only decent beer they had. The Mich we get is NOT the Mich my Dad drank. (he's informed me of this on more than a few overindulgent occasions...) And it sux that, if it turns out to be AB, they felt the need to get that involved in such a small operation. (Maybe b'cuz it's DC?) Rolling Rock I can see, I don't like it, but I understand it. I haven't read anything about them moving where RR is made tho, (so post a link to that would ya Hopfan? Greatly interested.) but I dig why they would acquire it with how far it's distributed. (Same thing goes for Goose Island)

The sad part is, it makes AB, and August the 3rd, look so insecure that he thinks it's the 70's again and the big boys can suck up the regionals and everyone will forget what real beer tastes like.

Not gonna happen.

Ize
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Old 01-10-2007, 12:58 PM   #9
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Yeah that lady from the podcast on basicbrewingradio talked about this recent trend. Her claim was that the mega-breweries are basically on a headhunting campaign for share of the the market. Hence, the purchasing of smaller guys. Interestingly, from her show her stern warning (if you want to call it that) was that the guys at AB really and truly do know how to brew good beer. Most of their revenue has come from those who feed on the sub-par brews they make; they are just catering to their customer! From what was discussed, this is probably the best time in history for beer to date because of the huge availability of ingredients, knowledge and the past few decades of a giant swing away from mainstream beer to local and small scale beer. Now of course, when a business is acquired it changes. It is impossible for new management not to interfere. That is just the way of things.....hopefully they won't interfere with the process of how those breweries make their beer. Problem comes in when joe-blow looks over the numbers and says..."You know we can save $0.20 per gallon if we just switch our malt to this variety...and truthfully the tests show it is the same".


 
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Old 01-10-2007, 02:07 PM   #10
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I hope there beer doesn't change... the Oak Barrell Stout was the beer that made me start drinking "good" beer... and eventually got me into homebrew...



 
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