Old Dominion Brewing: Sold (Out?)

Old DominionIt’s official. On March 2, Old Dominion Brewing Co. in Ashburn, VA announced its sale to Coastal Brewing, a joint venture between Fordham Brewing and Anheuser-Busch.

Fordham is a growing regional brewing concern originally based in Annapolis and now brewing and bottling in Dover, Delaware. The company was born in 1703 and resurrected by descendants of the founder in 1995. Fordham also owns the expanding regional chain of beer-oriented Rams Head Tavern restaurants and live music venues.

The new Coastal Brewing contrivance is 51% owned by Fordham and 49% by Anheuser-Busch, and will assume ownership of Old Dominion and Fordham brands, including Dominion Ale, Dominion Lager, Oak Barrel Stout, Fordham Copperhead, Fordham Lager, Oyster Stout and others, as well as ownership of the Old Dominion brewery and Brewpub in Ashburn, Va.

Anheuser-Busch will focus on distribution, providing the benefit of a nearly monopolistic network of A-B distributors and therefore far better presence at the retail level.

Commenting on the sale, Old Dominion founder and president Jerry Bailey said, “Under Coastal’s stewardship, the quality of Old Dominion brands will be protected and there’s no limit to what they can accomplish.”

Growth, they will undoubtedly accomplish. But with this sale there is one thing they will not be able to achieve: independent ownership. Independent, local ownership matters. And now Old Dominion doesn’t have it. As long as A-B is the large minority partner, Fordham and Dominion are beholden to commercial pressures that shift the focus to sales and marketing rather than brewing and being good business citizens within the local community.

Am I confident that the Fordham and Dominion beers will retain character and craft-quality? Yes, at least in the near term. Am I happy that I will now be able to find these beers much easier in the mid-Atlantic region? I suppose so, but frankly I will now be looking for alternatives. Old Dominion Ale has been my daily dinner libation of late, but with Old Dominion in league with Anheuser-Busch, I now have reason to rely more on my growing homebrewing habit – with my own best bitter pouring out of my beer engine, I’ll have little reason to reach for a Dominion Ale.

It will be slightly harder for me to swallow Tuppers Hop Pocket Ale and Pils. These beers, brewed at Old Dominion, are what turned me on to craft beer and remain two of my favorite beers. I have attended countless beer tastings with brand-owner Bob Tupper as the host. I feel a personal connection to these beers. But now I feel torn. Local, independent ownership is obviously not the sole criterion for selecting a beer – for most people it is not a criterion at all. But since there are other locally-brewed beers that are still independent, I’ll seek those out more, now that A-B has moved in on my local faves.

As I mentioned a few days ago, Hook and Ladder Brewing will be opening a brewpub right up the street from my place. I’m hoping that the line-up of beers there proves to be worthwhile. It will make it that much easier to say goodbye to Old Dominion.

Advertisements

8 Responses to Old Dominion Brewing: Sold (Out?)

  1. […] Head Taverns/Fordham beer brand and Anheuser-Busch, with 51% and 49% ownership shares respectively. I lamented this sale when it occurred. But the last thing I expected them to do was get rid of one of their most […]

  2. Carl says:

    Let me express my official displeasure. I think this outfit is pulling some real stunts, too. Like surreptitiously changing their recipes.

    I wrote a note to Mr. O’brien explaining.

  3. Everything is very open with a really clear description of
    the challenges. It was truly informative. Your site is very helpful.
    Many thanks for sharing!

  4. I am not sure why I’ve waited nearly a year to finally view this movie,
    however i did. But didn’t and take their uses. The winner of the raffle will win a $210.00 photo session with Alex
    Aleman Photography.

  5. Here are some reasons why a fixed rate reverse mortgage may be
    the better choice for you. The FHA lender on the other hand helps a person to rescue
    his life from dire consequences like bankruptcy and foreclosures.
    The loans received by the homeowners do not have
    any kind of restriction in terms of usage.

  6. Eye-catchy in nature, all these mediums effectively reach
    out to the target audience delivering a clear communication. The site owners pay the search engine company
    every time a surfer clicks on the link to their site. You can show
    your appreciation with our rich collection of premium promotional
    items, corporate gifts and promotional business gifts.

  7. Dimanche says:

    Maintenant vous n’avez plus d’excuse pour ne rien faire le dimanche.

    Le dimanche est parfois un jours long et fastidieux, c’est aussi,
    pour les chrétiens. Mais de nos jours quand on estpas chrétien ce jours peut sembler sans intêret

    Nous le passons tous devant la télé, mais
    ce pourquoi gâcher ce jours alors que nous avons plein de temps devant nous.
    Il est parfois ardu de trouver quoi faire le dimanche.
    C’est pour cela que nous avons développer un blog regroupant toute les activités du dimanche dans votre village.

    Fini les dimanche long et triste devant la télé.

  8. DC SEO says:

    Housing and Urban Development conjointly offers First Time Home
    Buyer an chance to shop for homes that are foreclosed
    or would like rehabilitation, at a greatly reduced rate.
    Qualified properties are identified on the Help-U-Sell website,
    . One benefit of home ownership that you can make a potential first time home buyer aware of is
    the financial advantage of owning a home versus
    renting. An FHA loan is much more forgiving of
    a limited credit history than conventional loans.

    In fact, because of that, Denver was recently
    recognized for being #1 in the nation for shortest
    time on market. The Betty Warmack Branch Library is located
    at 760 Bardin Rd.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: