Massachusetts Breweries Strike Strategic Partnership

Massachusetts’ Mercury Brewing and Newburyport Brewing today announced a strategic partnership that will give the latter company access to brewing capacity, via a contract arrangement, as well as various sales, marketing, and administrative resources.

Speaking to Brewbound, Rob Martin, owner of Mercury Brewing, which produces beers under the Ipswich Ale Brewery label, confirmed that his company had not taken an ownership stake in Newburyport.

Instead, Newburyport worked out an agreement with Mercury Brewing that includes payment for brewing, as well as sales, marketing and administrative services.

In the process of partnering up, Newburyport will close its existing production facility as it prepares to downsize brewing operations and open a “destination brewery” outfitted with a small-batch, 7-barrel system.

“We are currently building a new brewery on the oldest farm in the industrial park in Newburyport,” Newburyport Brewing co-founder and CEO Chris Webb said via a press release.

Newburyport currently operates on a 20-barrel brewing system and supplements its in-house production with beer brewed under contract at Isle Brewers Guild in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

According to Martin, Newburyport will brew its last batch of beer at its existing facility next week, and sell the manufacturing equipment located on-site while it constructs the newer innovation-focused facility.

“Our vision is to create an amazing destination brewery that will combine our love of music with the ability to innovate and brew small-batch beers,” Webb said in the release.

Both Webb and Newburyport Brewing co-founder Bill Fisher could not be reached for comment as of press time, but Martin believes the company will need to downsize its workforce in preparation for the opening of a new location.

Mercury Brewing currently makes beer for about 20 different companies, Martin said, and its facility has the capacity to produce as much as 45,000 barrels annually.

It has two brew houses – 30-barrels and 60-barrels – as well as bottling, canning and kegging equipment.

The addition of Newburyport’s contract business will take Mercury to roughly 90 percent capacity utilization, Martin said.

Newburyport Brewing will also end its contract brewing relationship with Isle Brewers Guild, where it is a minority investor, Martin added.

A press release with additional information is below.

Ipswich, MA (2/1/2019) – Following a growing national trend of craft brewery mergers, Ipswich Ale Brewery is proud to announce its partnership with the Newburyport Brewing Company. The partnership will allow both breweries to maintain separate product portfolios, taproom spaces, and events while utilizing shared resources for production, sales, and marketing.

“We’re extremely excited about our new partnership with Newburyport Brewing – in a very short time the brewery has become an iconic New England brand, and we’re pleased to be able to help them meet their production goals,” said Ipswich Ale Brewery President, Rob Martin. “This relationship is also great for us, it enables us to utilize their 7-barrel system to innovate and experiment within our own product line.”

“Working together to bring world-class beer to the market will now be both more efficient and more fun,” said Chris Webb, Co-Founder, and CEO of Newburyport Brewing. “We are currently building a new brewery on the oldest farm in the industrial park in Newburyport. Our vision is to create an amazing destination brewery that will combine our love of music with the ability to innovate and brew small-batch beers.”

Newburyport Brewing Company will begin production at the Ipswich brewing facility on February 4, 2019.

Residents of Boston’s North Shore were first introduced to Ipswich Ale during the spring of 1991. With more than 25 years of history behind it, Ipswich Ale Brewery’s portfolio of beers have developed into a tradition shared by not only the residents of eastern MA, but across New England. In January of 2016, the Ipswich Ale Brewery opened an onsite restaurant, the Ipswich Ale Brewer’s Table, which features 15 tap lines of Ipswich beers and an eclectic lunch and dinner menu.

Newburyport Brewing is a privately held craft brewery dedicated to brewing the highest quality craft beer products. Co-founded in 2012 by two local Newburyport entrepreneurs, musicians, and home brewers – Chris Webb and Bill Fisher – the company captures the essence of Newburyport’s quaint seaside character across a line of great tasting handcrafted beers. The brewery uses premium quality natural ingredients in its products: Green Head IPA®, Newburyport Pale Ale®, Plum Island Belgian White®, Melt Away Session IPA™, Maritime Lager™, and 1635 Series™ small batch beers.

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