Dogfish Head's merger with the maker of Sam Adams fundamentally disrupts the world of craft brewing - and beer lovers have mixed feelings

Dogfish Head's merger with the maker of Sam Adams fundamentally disrupts the world of craft brewing - and beer lovers have mixed feelings

dogfish beer brewery

John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images

Some beer fans expressed worries about the merger, while others supported the move.

  • Boston Beer Company, the business that makes Sam Adams beer, is acquiring Dogfish Head Brewery.
  • The deal is valued at around $300 million.
  • "This merger better positions Dogfish Head and our coworkers to continue growing within this definition for many years to come," Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione said in a statement. 

Boston Beer Company, the business that makes Sam Adams beer, is acquiring Dogfish Head, a Delaware-based craft brewery.

"Not only are Dogfish Head and Boston Beer two original American breweries, but [Boston Beer founder and chairman] Jim Koch and I worked hard with other leading craft brewery founders and the Brewers Association to develop and champion what defines independent American brewers," Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione said in a statement. "This merger better positions Dogfish Head and our coworkers to continue growing within this definition for many years to come."
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Calagione added that he and his wife, Mariah, will be "reinvesting nearly all of the proceeds back into the combined entity," as well as establishing a philanthropic foundation with a portion of their newly acquired Boston Beer stock.

The merger of the publicly traded Boston Beer Company, which also produces Angry Orchard cider, with the well-known craft brewery prominently featured in the 2009 documentary "Beer Wars" is sure to shake up the brewing industry.

Read more: INSIDE SAM ADAMS - we got a tour from the founder and self-proclaimed 'Willy Wonka of beer'
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The press release noted that the transaction is valued at around $300 million, and that Boston Beer CEO Dave Burwick will helm the company. Dogfish Head posted a photo of Calagione sharing a drink with Koch to Facebook and Twitter.

 One Facebook user called the pair "shill" and "sellout," respectively.
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Not everyone had such a negative reaction, though.

"To the haters: Samuel Adams / Boston Beer may not be perfect, but few people have been as vocal a proponent of craft beer for as long as Jim Koch," one Facebook user commented. "I'd much rather DFH merge with them than get bought by Constellation or - gasp! - ABInbev-SabMillerCoors. We know that BBC won't force through drastic changes and expansion into other markets that the brand can't or won't handle."

"A lot of you bozos don't understand what selling out is," a different poster wrote. "Two independent companies merging is way different than if DFH went with InBev or another corporation. Relax, it's going to be OK and possibly create a bigger shipping market and more beer."
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Not everyone was convinced, however. 

"Sam Adams has been completely out of touch with actual craft beer for a decade at least," one poster wrote. "I don't see how this is good."

Another added that Dogfish Head was the "last brewery on earth that I thought would sell out."
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"Not a fan," another Facebook poster wrote. "Dogfish Head has always been fiercely independent with a focus on unique and sometimes challenging beers. I've been to the brewery six times, to the brewpub many times. I spent my 31st birthday there and made some incredible memories. This is the last thing that I expected from DFH. What a shame."

Yet another poster took a nuanced view, writing that the merger was a "good idea on paper."

"Two crafters who are totally not in a competitive market with each other and could definitely compliment the other by being under one umbrella," the poster wrote. "But I feel we, as the consumer, are going to lose the unique and off the wall beers Sam and Dogfish Head brought us."
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More beer lovers posted their thoughts on Twitter:

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