Employees of Magic Hat are waiting and wondering. The well-known South Burlington beer-maker is reportedly being eyed by North American Breweries, an industry giant that owns the Genesee and Labatt USA labels. "I'm sure they're looking at diversifying their portfolio," Dann Van Der Vliet, an instructor at the University of Vermont School of Business Administration said.
North American Breweries says prominent industry reports that an acquisition is imminent are just speculation and had no further comment. "Time will tell," said Van Der Vliet.
Magic Hat founder Alan Newman is out of the state right now and told WCAX News by phone even he knows nothing about whether the company he started 16 years ago will be swallowed by a beer giant. Newman told me his financial partners at a Connecticut investment firm are looking at selling their shares in Magic Hat, and admits at this point, he has no idea what that would mean for the brand.
"[Acquisitions are] typically for the better long-term interest of the company," Van Der Vliet said. He adds that takeovers often follow significant growth. Magic Hat recently expanded out West by investing in Pyramid. It also makes beer and runs brewpubs.
Magic Hat's beer is sold in 26 states. Its up-to-date production line churns out up to 400 bottles a minute. "I don't think the product will change," Van Der Vliet said. "That's what attracts many investors to the products in the first place. So why would you come in and buy a product for its quality and change it?"
We asked Newman on February 26 whether the craft brand would ever sell to a big conglomerate. "If somebody comes tomorrow and writes a stupid check? I'm getting old-- how much long can I do this thing? But today, the goal is to continue doing what we're doing, doing it the way we're doing it, and trying to get better at doing it," he said.
"Magic Hat has always had a great presence in the industry," said Steve Miller of the Vt. Brewers Association. "Alan Newman, the founder, has always been an incredible industry leader, has always worked well with the Vermont Brewers Association and we really hope if this transaction is completed, that we'll see that same kind of leadership and quality from the new owners."
Several Magic Hat employees have told us they're expecting to hear about a takeover soon. Newman said he could not comment as to whether or not a deal is actually in the works or what one may mean for the Vermont operation. The director of the Connecticut investment firm Newman said wants to sell its significant share in Magic Hat did not return our call.
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:10 AM EDT2014-03-09 14:10:32 GMT
Two New Hampshire communities damaged by storms are getting federal help. Lincoln will get more than $4.5 million for a bridge repair from Tropical Storm Irene. FEMA also awarded Lebanon more than $3More >>
Two New Hampshire communities damaged by storms are getting federal help.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:09 AM EDT2014-03-09 14:09:58 GMT
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County. CCTA officials told us in a statement that after 19 hours of negotiations that went into the morningMore >>
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:09 AM EDT2014-03-09 14:09:06 GMT
A Ken Burns documentary featuring Vermont students will have its premiere in Brattleboro. The film is called "The Address". It follows the 50 boys at the Greenwood School in Putney who have learningMore >>
A Ken Burns documentary featuring Vermont students will have its premiere in Brattleboro.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:03 AM EDT2014-03-09 14:03:58 GMT
New Hampshire police say a man is recovering after he accidentally shot himself. Claremont police tell us that the man was cleaning his gun Saturday night when it went off. He was taken to the hospitalMore >>
New Hampshire police say a man is recovering after he accidentally shot himself.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 9:59 AM EDT2014-03-09 13:59:53 GMT
This towering ice fortress is dazzling visitors to Loon Mountain in New Hampshire. "Yeah, this is a wow moment," says visitor Millie Gabriel. "It's an incredible feeling to see people really light upMore >>
If you're ready to see one more beautiful thing before we say hello to spring, then we've found the spot for you.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 9:53 AM EDT2014-03-09 13:53:41 GMT
When the Wild Center in Tupper Lake was looking at maple education programs, they hit a bit of a snag. "I took a survey of the 31 acres here at the museum and we only had one maple tree on the property,"More >>
The Community Maple program has been going for three years now, allowing people to take the sap from their backyard and learn how to turn it into syrup.
Sunday, March 9 2014 9:44 AM EDT2014-03-09 13:44:12 GMT
We've got some tasty ideas for this second Sunday in March! PANCAKE BREAKFAST This year is the 20th annual Franklin Fire Dept. Pancake breakfast at the Franklin Central School. They serve more than 2,000More >>
We've got some tasty ideas for this second Sunday in March!More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:49 PM EST2014-03-09 02:49:49 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>