Monday, January 08, 2007

Say it ain't So, Jerry!

We've heard this song before, but now it's hit the Washington Post, over the fold on Page 1 of the Business Section, in a piece written by reporter Thomas Heath. (You may need a account - free - to access that page.)

What I had heard months earlier from 'inside' sources was that Anheuser-Busch is set any day now to purchase 49% of Old Dominion Brewery and to finance various principals in Fordham Brewery/Ram's Head Tavern for the remainder 51%. That, to my mind, means 100% heart-and-soul would be A-B. Ugh. (An earlier bid, fronted by two employees, seemed to be succeeding, only to fail without public expalnation.)

The article lists the "Baltimore-based" Ram's Head in Annapolis; that's in error. The Ram's Head is in Annapolis, Maryland. And, I believe that the deal actually will be with Southern Beverages of Delaware, the production brewery (that is, no brewpub) that Bill and Kyle Muehlhauser - principals of the Fordham Brewery/Ram's Head - had set up in Delaware a few years ago to produce the bottled Fordham brand.

Confusion may arise because businesses often have dual names: trade or company names and names under which they do business. (Thus in Annapolis, the pub is the Ram's Head and the on-site brewery is Fordham.)

The "Jerry" of "Say it ain't so" is Dominion's owner, Jerry Bailey, who obviously wishes to retire!

From the Washington Post article:

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.


  1. Now ODB may have some real manangement. There is no reason ODB has grown at such a snails pace. If money were spent advertising their products, they would be a major player by now.

  2. Somewhat ironically, a lot of Old Dominion's growth stemmed from owner Jerry Bailey's distribution agreement with northern Virginia's A-B distributors. So this impending sale seems a logical progression.

    If cash infusions for advertising and QC/QA come with the sale, Old Dominion may stand to regain prestige and growth, both which have been stagnant for a few years now. Then again, a perceived sell-out to 'big beer' might create a consumer backlash.


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