Friday, February 16, 2007

Sad, sad day at Dominion

From DC-Beer today.

From: Terence Fife
Subject: [DC-Beer] Big Changes at Old Dominion
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 01:01:25 -0500

It has been a pleasure for me over the past year or so to be a member of the DC Beer List. Though I have not been among the most active participants, I have monitored the conversation daily.

There has been a great deal of conjecture and speculation regarding the fate of Old Dominion lately, and I have made a concerted effort to avoid these conversations.

I believe that it is no secret that the company is being sold to Coastal Beverage, a joint venture between Anheuser-Busch and Fordham Brewing (49/51). The deal is expected to close at the end of February.

The Dominion staff was introduced to the VP of Brewing Ops and VP of Sales for the first time this afternoon.

Within moments of their arrival, I was informed that I would not be retained after the changeover and, for that matter, I may as well pack up immediately. Shortly afterward, our head brewer Dave Hennessey was fired, along with brewer Greg Spradlin. Between the three of us, we had 42 years of service with Old Dominion and a collective record of loyalty, sacrifice, and hard work.

I can sleep well knowing that I have always been a dutiful ambassador of the company.

As a final insult, we were given no compensation package or severance of any kind. It has always been the policy of Old Dominion to pay fired employees two weeks of severance for each year with the company, almost regardless of the reason for their termination. It was explained to me that we were not actually being fired by Old Dominion. Rather, we simply weren't being rehired by the new company and therefore were not entitled to a severance.

Thus begins a new era for Old Dominion.

It has been a pleasure getting to know some of you on this list, and I never failed to learn from and be entertained by many of you. Thanks for your support over the years and I hope to cross paths with all of you at some point.

All the best,
Terry Fife
Old Dominion Brewing Co.
It's a sad, sad, day.

There are always many facets to such a thing. But having known Terry Fife in his capacity as Marketing Manager at Old Dominion Brewing Company, I can avow that he did not deserve such treatment - nor did brewer Dave Hennessy. Business decisions are not made in moral vacuums - or at least should not be.

At the RFD Strong Beer Tasting last evening, Dominion brewer Favio Garcia stated that a public announcement about the sale would be made within 2 weeks. Obviously, an abbreviated schedule was followed.

Here's more on how the story developed.

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