Big beer news, shot of whiskey: Harpoon acquires Long Trail

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Big beer news, shot of whiskey: Harpoon acquires Long Trail

Fri, 06/17/2022 - 4:43pm -- tim

The famous Harpoon Beer Garden at the Artisans Park in Windsor. VBM photo.

WhistlePig Whiskey to take over Middlebury brewery assets as part of transaction

Vermont Business Magazine Mass. Bay Brewing Company (parent company of Harpoon Brewery) announced today that it has reached an agreement in principle to acquire Long Trail Brewing Company, producers of award-winning hand-crafted ales under the Long Trail, Otter Creek, and Shed brands.

As part of the agreement, Mass. Bay Brewing Company will continue to operate the Long Trail facility in Bridgewater Corners, but will begin brewing Long Trail, Otter Creek and Shed beers in its own brewery in Windsor. WhistlePig Whiskey, based in Shoreham, will assume ownership of the Otter Creek and Shed brewery in Middlebury. After a transition period, WhistlePig will convert production capabilities to bottling and distilling and continue to use the extensive brewing capabilities in Middlebury.

“The Long Trail family of brands represents more than just the right strategic fit for our business. After talking with Dan Fulham about ways we could potentially partner and create efficiencies when it comes to brewing in Vermont, it became clear that we’d be stronger together,” said Dan Kenary, CEO and co-founder of Mass. Bay Brewing Company. “We have been Vermont brewers for more than 20 years and are excited to deepen our already significant roots here, while being great stewards of these brands.”

“Dan Kenary and I have been friends for a long time – and we have a shared commitment to the Vermont community and passion for making great beer. So when the time came to choose someone to take the helm at Long Trail, I knew Dan and the team at Mass. Bay Brewing Company would be the right choice to carry on and protect the Long Trail legacy,” said Daniel Fulham, CEO of Long Trail.

Jeff Kozak, CEO of WhistlePig added, “We believe the additional production capacity in Middlebury will complement our grain-to-glass distilling and warehousing operation on our 500-acre farm and are hopeful we can continue to grow both our brands and job opportunities in our community.”

Both companies are working to retain production, sales, and support functions as part of the transition.

Harpoon Statement

"We have been Vermont brewers for more than 20 years (if you haven’t visited our Harpoon Brewery Taproom & Beer Garden in Windsor, VT yet, you are missing out)! 

"We have a deep respect for Vermont brewed craft beer and are excited to deepen our already significant roots in the Green Mountain State as we acquire Long Trail Brewing Company, producers of award-winning hand-crafted ales under the Long Trail, Otter Creek, and Shed brands.

"As part of the agreement, we will continue to operate the Long Trail Riverside Pub in Bridgewater Corners, but will begin brewing Long Trail, Otter Creek, and Shed beers at the Harpoon Brewery in Windsor, VT. 

WhistlePig Whiskey, another great Vermont brand that we have a close relationship with, will assume ownership of the Otter Creek and Shed brewery in Middlebury. We will operate the Otter Creek Brewing Pub & Beer Garden, which will continue to be a great space to enjoy a beer.

"We are looking forward to the opportunity to carry on the Long Trail legacy in partnership with with the folks in production, sales, and support functions who will be staying on as part of the transition. We are hopeful that we can continue to grow both our brands and job opportunities in the Vermont community.

"As Friends of Harpoon, we wanted you to be one of the first to know about this news. Click here to read a message from our CEO and Co-Founder Dan Kenary. 

"Cheers, The Employee Owners of Harpoon"

About Long Trail Brewing Company

Long Trail was established in 1989. Otter Creek was founded in 1991. The two brands joined forces in 2010. 

About Mass. Bay Brewing Company

Mass. Bay Brewing Company is a New England brewing pioneer, co-founded by Dan Kenary in 1986, and holder of brewing license 001 from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Mass. Bay expanded to a second brewery in Windsor, VT in 2000 and became employee-owned in 2014.

About WhistlePig Whiskey

Founded in 2007, WhistlePig has become the #1 whiskey in the ultra-premium and luxury Rye category in North America, featuring the bold and often untapped flavor of Rye. WhistlePig is leading a surge of innovation in the emerging field of North American whiskey. As the most decorated Rye Whiskey – having received the coveted ‘Best Rye Whiskey’ from the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and ‘Best in Show’ in 2017 - WhistlePig is widely viewed as the world’s finest and most interesting Rye. With the opening of its distillery on its 500-acre Vermont farm in the fall of 2015, WhistlePig has also become one of the leading farm-to-bottle Rye whiskeys in the world. For more information, head to whistlepigwhiskey.com.

(Windsor, Vt.) June 17, 2022 – Mass. Bay Brewing Company