Old Dominion Purchased By A-B, Craft Partnership

Posted on Posted in Anheuser-Busch, Business, Old Dominion

Though it has long been rumored, the sale of Old Dominion is now in its final stages.  I have a lot to report on this topic (including some coverage in the next issue of BeerAdvocate Magazine, but for now, here is the press release. 

New Joint Venture, Coastal Brewing Co., To Purchase Old Dominion

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (March 2, 2007) – Coastal Brewing Co., a new joint venture between Maryland-based Fordham Brewing Co. and minority partner Anheuser-Busch, Inc., announced today it will purchase Old Dominion Brewing Co., a Virginia-based craft brewer and brewpub operator with primary distribution in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States.

As part of the deal, Coastal Brewing Co. will assume ownership, sales and marketing responsibilities for both the Old Dominion and Fordham brands, including Dominion Ale, Dominion Lager, Oak Barrel Stout, Fordham Copperhead, Fordham Lager, Oyster Stout and others. Coastal Brewing Co. also assumes ownership of the Old Dominion brewery and Old Dominion Brewpub, both located in Ashburn, Va.

Bill Muehlhauser, chief executive officer of Fordham Brewing Co., will serve as managing partner for Coastal Brewing Co. Coastal Brewing Co. has hired Scott Zetterstrom as a vice president of brewing operations to oversee brewing of the Old Dominion and Fordham brands. Zetterstrom previously served as head brewmaster for Old Dominion and most recently worked with Fordham as an independent brewing consultant. Coastal Brewing Co. also has hired Barry Newmiller as vice president of sales and marketing. Newmiller previously was a regional sales manager for InBev USA.

Additionally, effective April 1, 2007, Anheuser-Busch will become the master distributor for the Old Dominion and Fordham brands, giving Coastal the benefit of Anheuser-Busch’s logistical expertise in managing distribution and access to more independent and chain retail accounts in the Mid-Atlantic region.

“I’m proud to entrust the wonderful beers we have brewed at Old Dominion since 1990 to Fordham and Anheuser-Busch,? said Jerry Bailey, founder and president of Old Dominion Brewing Co. “Under Coastal’s stewardship, the quality of Old Dominion brands will be protected and there’s no limit to what they can accomplish.?

Coastal Brewing Co. will be led by Fordham Brewing Co., which holds 51 percent ownership, with Anheuser-Busch holding the minority stake of 49 percent.

“We are eager to expand the distribution of our Fordham brands through Anheuser-Busch’s wholesaler network and are looking forward to working with the company through this alliance,? Muehlhauser said. “We are excited about the opportunities Coastal Brewing Co. will provide to both the Old Dominion and Fordham brands and introducing them to even more beer lovers in the Mid-Atlantic States.?

“Old Dominion and Fordham are two of the leading craft brewers in the Mid-Atlantic region, with a strong following among craft consumers and a tremendous opportunity for growth,? said Dave Peacock, vice president of business operations for Anheuser-Busch, Inc. “Together with our partners at Coastal Brewing and our wholesaler network, we will enhance the distribution and sales support for these exceptional beers and continue to provide new, distinctive products to adult consumers.?

Based in St. Louis, Anheuser-Busch is the leading American brewer, holding 48.4 percent of U.S. beer sales. The company brews the world’s largest-selling beers, Budweiser and Bud Light. Anheuser-Busch also owns a 50 percent share in Grupo Modelo, Mexico’s leading brewer, and a 27 percent share in Tsingtao, the No. 1 brewer in China. Anheuser-Busch ranked No. 1 among beverage companies in FORTUNE Magazine’s Most Admired U.S. and Global Companies lists in 2006. Anheuser-Busch is one of the largest theme park operators in the United States, is a major manufacturer of aluminum cans and is one of the world’s largest recyclers of aluminum cans.

Based in Annapolis, Fordham Brewing Co. was originally founded by Benjamin Fordham in 1703, in what would become Maryland. In 1995, it was reborn in the heart of old Annapolis. Rapid growth resulted in the building of a new brewery in Dover, Del. in the spring of 2003. For more information, visit www.fordhambrewing.com. 

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