South Burlington, Vermont – July 28, 2010
A major shakeup appears to be looming in the craft beer industry. South Burlington brewery Magic Hat is reportedly close to being bought by a major beer maker. Several employees tell WCAX News that department managers are preparing for word this week that North American Breweries out of Rochester, N.Y., will swallow the Vermont brand.
North American Breweries operates the Labatt USA and the Genesee labels. The Magic Hat employees tell WCAX News the move has been rumored for months, but we could not reach top management for confirmation Wednesday. A leading industry website, beernews.org, is reporting the deal is close to being finalized.
Reporter Jack Thurston asked company founder Alan Newman about a possible sale back in February. Newman said then his intent was to stay independent.
"If somebody comes tomorrow and writes a stupid check? I'm getting old, how much long can I do this thing?" Newman chuckled on February 26. "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."
The workers tell WCAX they have not been notified about the impact this may have on their jobs. They're hopeful a recent expansion at the plant will make a new company want to keep the South Burlington bottling plant open.