Long Trail Brewery purchasing Otter Creek Brewery in Vermont
Long Trail Brewery of Bridgewater corners Vermont to purchase Otter Creek Brewery in Middlebury, Vermont.
This Long Trail / Otter Creek news is slightly old (this news happened around 11/25), but none the less, I felt it was important to post this information to share.
I found it strange today when I was looking for information about the joint venture on Otter Creek’s and Long Trail’s website, but I wasn’t able to locate the press release on either website. (I saw the press release on Long Trail’s website, but it is no longer listed under the news section.)
I searched the web to locate the press release:
TWO VERMONT CRAFT BREWERS PLAN TO JOIN FORCES
(Bridgewater Corners, VT) Excitement reigns at two local Vermont breweries in Middlebury and Bridgewater Corners, as word comes of a signed Letter of Intent by Long Trail Brewing Co. to acquire the Otter Creek Brewery, home to Otter Creek and Wolaverâ€™s Certified Organic brands. Long Trail anticipates the completion of the diligence process in the coming weeks.
â€œWe are excited about the potential of two great Vermont companies joining forces,â€ according to Long Trail Brewingâ€™s CEO, Brian Walsh, â€œWe hold the same, proud Vermont traditions as creators of award winning craft beer. Our roots are in Vermont, and we are looking forward to growing our business together.â€
Long Trail and Otter Creek are Vermontâ€™s oldest craft breweries, with a combined brewing history of nearly 40 years. The brands are poised to continue to grow and develop in Bridgewater Corners and Middlebury, Vermont. As Mike Gerhart, Otter Creek and Wolaverâ€™s Brewmaster puts it, â€œWeâ€™re all extremely excited about the partnership with Long Trail. Thereâ€™s a lot of creativity and talent in this building. Now, weâ€™ll have the resources and tools to up the ante and make each other stronger, pushing the craft beer envelope. At the end of the day, itâ€™s about making great beer.â€ Bill Hill, Chief Financial Officer at Otter Creek added, â€œThis is a great opportunity for each of Otter Creekâ€™s constituencies; our consumers, our distributors, our suppliers, and our associates.â€
Long Trail received the 2009 Vermont Governorâ€™s Award for Environmental Excellence, recognizing the breweryâ€™s innovative approach to preserving and protecting the environment. â€œWolaverâ€™s is a natural extension to our ECO Brewingâ„¢ program,â€ said Walsh, â€œto have a brand with such strong commitment to sustainability, and being one of the first certified organic craft beers in North America.â€
Two great, local, craft breweries are now looking toward the future as they continue to develop all three brands, right here in Vermont.
2Beerguys says:Â This is an interesting move.Â It’s quite different approach than the April 2008 mergerÂ between Pyramid and Magic Hat.Â The Pyramid and Magic Hat joint venture expanded their reach fromÂ coast to coast, which was similar to the move that Redhook took to open a second facility in Portsmouth, NH.Â The reason appeared to be based on market expansion (but I have yet to see any Pyramid beers available in New England )
The market forÂ Long Trail (product availableÂ 9 states) and Otter Creek’sÂ (product availableÂ in 15 states)Â has some overlapp but does not cross the great Mississsippi river.Â Â Also, their current production levels are a bit different. Currently, Long Trails producing is 3 times the amount of Otter Creek, but does not have an organic offering (like Wolavers produced by Otter Creek).Â If their production remains the same after the merger, theirÂ combined production may push them over the 100k barrelÂ mark.Â Â
Do they have competiting products?
There is some overlap in the non-organic market, but Long Trail and Otter Creek availabiliy isÂ a bitÂ different.Â In many local stores,Â Long TrailÂ represents a goodÂ selection of 6 pack, 12 packs,Â and seasonal mixed packs throughout.Â In the past year,Â Long TrailÂ released a few special brewers series beers in 22 oz bottles (bombers).Â The 22oz specialty series seemed to be spurred byÂ market demands.Â Popular Beers: Long Trail Unfiltered IPA, Hit the Trail Ale, Blackberry Wheat and Double Bag.
In my local stores, Otter Creek beers seem to be a bit scarse in the 6 packs, 12 packs and mixed packs.Â There are some styles, but not many.Â Otter Creek seems to have more of a variety in the speciality 22oz bottles market.Â Popular Beers: Otter Creek Stovepipe Porter, Copper Ale,Â Oktoberfest and Otter Kilter.Â Â Otter Creek’sÂ latest 22 oz offering is named Quercus Vitis Humulus.
In 2009, MagicHat dropped their organic brand named Orilio, letting the others compete for the organic market share (the local players areÂ Wolavers byÂ Otter Creek,Â Peak Organic and Stone Mill series by A/B).Â Long Trail is very environment conscious and this decision might have been to increase their visibility into the EcoMarket.
Overall, the winner from this merger will be Otter Creek and the Wolavers brand.Â Long Trail does well in New England and they will remain to do well.Â If both brands are kept (Long Trail and Otter Creek/Wolavers), the Otter CreekÂ sales and availability will increaseÂ in stores/restaurants.Â Â Â Â
Drink Craft Beer, You’ve Earned It!!!
About Otter Creek
Located in beautiful Middlebury, Vermont, we shipped our first keg of Copper Ale in March of 1991. Four years later, after quickly outgrowing our original site, we moved into a new state-of-the-art brewery just down the street.
In 1998, we began producing Wolaver’s Certified Organic Ales in partnership with Panorama Brewing Company. Both brands have flourished as beer drinkers throughout the northeast have enjoyed craft ales, and as the focus on sustainable farming and living has blossomed.
In May of 2002, the Wolaver family purchased Otter Creek Brewing. Otter Creek remains a family owned Vermont company and produces all Otter Creek and Wolaver’s brands for distribution throughout the country.
We brew and bottle all of our beers in small batches to ensure freshness and consistent quality. We use natural Vermont water, the best domestic malt and hops available, and our own top-fermenting yeast. All Wolaver’s beers are made with no less than 98% certified organic ingredients. Our brewery and our Wolaver’s brands are certified organic by Vermont Organic Farmers.
Otter Creek ales enjoy a complexity of flavor, natural carbonation, and a creamy texture that is favored by beer enthusiasts at pubs and restaurants throughout the United States.