Brewery Changes Hands

Brewery Changes Hands

Brewing Company Owner Sells to Old Friends

At 50 years old, Jerry Bailey realized he would rather run a brewery than sit behind a desk.

The government employee was unhappy with his job. After years of home-brewing beer from his Bethesda home, Jerry Bailey decided to open his own brewing company.

The brewery provided him an opportunity to do something different with his life. In 1989, Bailey wrote a business proposal and raised $1 million dollars to open The Old Dominion Brewing Co., the Washington, D.C., area’s first microbrewery, in Ashburn.

"I’ve been happy I left my government job ever since," he said.

After 17 years of running his brew-pub dream, Bailey decided it was time again to try something new.

"It’s an aging thing," Bailey said.

BAILEY ANNOUNCED Tuesday that he will sell Old Dominion Brewing Co. to the company’s director of marketing Terry Fife and Fife’s business partner, Kip Olson.

When the 66-year-old business owner announced to employees that he was ready to sell the business and plan for retirement, Fife and Olson approached him with an offer to buy.

"It seemed like the natural thing to do," Fife said. "And I have a hard time working for other people," he joked.

The new owners don’t have any immediate plans to change the brewery.

"We’re very lucky to buy a company that doesn’t need much fixing," Fife said. "People can continue to expect the same quality of products."

Fife and Olson plan to branch the brewing company out to cities they don’t have a presence in like Norfolk, Richmond and Williamsburg.

After the sale is official, Fife and Olson will assume management duties of the brewing company.

"No changes in staff," Fife said. "The staff is made of friends and family. We’ve worked together for a long time."

Bailey will remain a part of the company, as a part-time employee.

"It was a wonderful opportunity, I had a lot of fun doing it, but I’m getting old and I’m thinking about retiring."