Old Dominion Brewing Company
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (January 2011)|
Old Dominion Brewing Company, founded in 1989 in Ashburn, Virginia by Jerry Bailey (formerly a federal government employee) and currently located in Dover, Delaware, is a brewery that produces a variety of beers.
In 2006, the brewery sold the equivalent of 27,000 barrels of beer and 6,000 barrels of soft drink, making Old Dominion the 50th-largest brewery in the country. About half of Old Dominion's beer is sold on tap and the other half in bottles. Old Dominion is also famous for its root beer, which is sweetened with a mixture of locally produced honey and sugar, rather than the high fructose corn syrup that is used for most United States soft drinks.
From 1996 to 2006, Old Dominion hosted an annual beer festival that showcased small brewers from around the region, as well as some breweries from around the US and Europe. The festival featured more than 50 breweries and live music. The three-day event was held each year on the last full weekend of June; management and organization of the festival was given over to Vintage 50, which now hosts the event twice a year, in June and October.
Old Dominion has been fertile ground for producing high quality brewers, such as: John Mallet at Bell's Brewery, Ron Barchet at Victory Brewing Company, Matthew Hagerman and Favio Garcia at Lost Rhino Brewing Company, and Kenny Allen at Old Ox Brewery.
Bailey put Old Dominion up for sale in the mid-2000s. No serious offers to purchase the company were made until 2007, when Fordham Brewing of Annapolis, Maryland offered to purchase the company, financed in part by Anheuser-Busch (AB) for a minority stake in the two breweries, to form Coastal Brewing Company. The majority of Coastal is owned by Fordham Brewing Company, owned by Bill Muhlhauser (owner of both Fordham and the Ram's Head Taverns of Maryland) and other partners. Anheuser-Busch's purchase stake gave them no control of either of the two breweries, nor any input or influence on brewery recipes, nor oversight of any day-to-day management—AB's interest solely resides in the distribution side of the two breweries' business using AB-favored distributors, entirely focused on competing with SABMillerCoors "craft brand" Blue Moon. In fact, since the InBev buyout of AB, AB-InBev is rumored to be in talks with Coastal management to completely transfer its minority stake back to Coastal in exchange for continued distribution rights.
Old Dominion also operated a brewpub at the Ashburn brewery, which was closed in August 2008, primarily due to ongoing losses directly related to the overall U.S. economic downturn, as well as being suboptimally located for sustainably successful restaurant sales.
Immediately after the sale, the brewers at Old Dominion worked with the brewers at Fordham for several months to ensure a consistent recipe transition. After the breweries combined operations, Coastal Brewing increased its focus on Old Dominion's core, popular brands, with all slower selling and non-profitable brands and contract brews culled from the product line by Coastal management. Most notably, the multiple medal-winning Tuppers' Hop Pocket branded IPA and Pils were discontinued in August 2007, primarily due to the high cost to produce both versus comparatively unprofitable returns on both; for many of the same economic reasons, the favorite and multiple GABF medal winner New River Pale Ale was also discontinued. Contrary to some accounts, AB-InBev had no input or influence on these decisions; they were solely based on economic concerns over the contract brands failing to meet sales expectations.
In May 2009 all brewing operations, combined with those of Fordham Brewing, were moved to a new facility in Dover, Delaware. The current core brands of the brewery continue to sell briskly in both the on-site and packaging ends, and can be found as the "house" brews at many locations throughout the DC Metro area, including the Great American Restaurant chain (except for the Sweetwater Tavern in Centreville, Virginia), Verizon Center, and Nationals Park. Old Dominion continues to host various brew sampling and cask events throughout the DC-MD-VA metropolitan area, maintaining their status as a Mid-Atlantic regional brewer, and their Oak Barrel Stout and Hop Mountain Pale Ale brands remain popular sellers in the packaging end of the line, available at several retail and grocery chains throughout the DC and DelMarVa region. Despite now being brewed in Delaware, Fordham still markets itself as "Maryland's oldest brewery" .
As of January 2011, Jim Lutz (former VP of sales and marketing at Flying Dog Brewery of Frederick, MD), took over as the new President and CEO of Coastal Brewing.
- Dominion Lager 5.6%
- Aviator Amber
- Victory Amber
- Dominion Ale 4.7%
- Oak Barrel Stout 5.2%
- Hop Mountain Pale Ale 5.6%
- Millennium Ale 10.5%
- Dominion Octoberfest Lager (August) 5.6%
- Dominion Big Thaw Bock (February) 7.5%
- Dominion Baltic Porter (November) 6.8%
- Dominion Beach House Pilsner (May) 5.2%