Brewery Sold

Brewery Sold

Old Dominion Brewery owner sells to Anheuser-Busch and Maryland-based company.

After months of speculation, the Old Dominion Brewing Company has been sold. The company was purchased by the Coastal Brewing Company, a joint venture between Maryland-based Fordham Brewing Company and Anheuser-Busch Inc.

The new Coastal Brewing Company announced the sale March 2 and the new company will take over all sales, marketing and ownership of Old Dominion and Fordham brands. The Old Dominion brands will include Dominion Ale, Dominion Lager, Oak Barrel Stout, Fordham Copperhead, Fordham Lager and Oyster Stout. As part of the deal, Coastal Brewing Company will take over ownership of the Old Dominion brewery and brewpub in Ashburn.

"We are excited about the opportunities Coastal Brewing Company will provide to both the Old Dominion and Fordham brands and introducing them to even more beer lovers in the Mid-Atlantic states," Bill Muehlhauser, chief executive officer of Fordham Brewing Company, said. Muehlhauser will serve as managing partner of Coastal Brewing Company.

Scott Zetterstrom will serve as a vice president of brewing operations for Coastal, overseeing the 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.

As of April 1, St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch will become the master distributor for the Old Dominion and Fordham brands.

"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.

OLD DOMINION BREWERY founder, Jerry Bailey, who opened the area's first microbrewery in 1989, did not return phone calls requesting comment on the sale, but said in a press release at the time of the sale that he was "proud to entrust the wonderful beers we have brewed at Old Dominion since 1990 to Fordham and Anheuser-Busch. Under Coastal's stewardship, the quality of Old Dominion brands will be protected and there's no limit to what they can accomplish."

When Bailey first announced he planned to sell his brewery in March 2006, he planned to sell it to the company's director of marketing Terry Fife and Fife's business partner, Kip Olson. That deal fell through in recent months with no reasons given for the breakdown.

While there has been no indication what the sale will mean for Old Dominion employees or the company, Bailey said several weeks ago that the annual Old Dominion Brewfest would continue as planned. No location has been identified for the 2007 event.

The Old Dominion brew pub in Ashburn has been closed since March 2 for renovations and is scheduled to reopen on Wednesday, March 21.

— Erika Jacobson