Delaware-based brewery merges with Boston Beer

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- It's the talk of the beer universe: The acquisition of Delaware based Dogfish Head Brewery by the brewer of Sam Adams beer based in Boston.

Tom Peters is more than your average beer consumer.

"I'm a total beer nerd," he says with a smile.

Beer is his business as co-owner of Monk's Tavern in Center City. The bar carries more than 200 varieties of beer from all over the world, with breweries often appealing to the Philadelphia bar personally.

"We've had people from all over the world come here. And they want us to carry their beer.

Peters remembers when the owner of a local small brewery came to his bar more than 20 years ago, asking him to consider carrying Dogfish Head beer. After one taste, Peters decided to sell the beer to his customers. And he's carried it ever since.

"We sell a lot of their beer," he said.

But Thursday, word came down that there would be a big change in the Delaware-based brewery's business. Dogfish Head is merging with Boston Beer, the company that makes Sam Adams beer. The $300 million mergers come as a surprise to some loyal customers.

"To be honest, I'm totally surprised by it," said Paul Bonney as he sat at a table at Monk's.

The immediate worry is whether the beer will change. A spokesperson with Boston Beer says it won't. The company will keep its signature recipes and ingredients. It'll also keep its brewery and distillery in Delaware. The beer's presence will likely expand on store shelves and at restaurants.

"I think it's a good thing," said Stewart Ricker as he imbibed with a few of his friends. "It's good to have a craft brewer buying another craft brewer."

Peters was thinking along the same lines when he decided to continue to carry Dogfish right after the announcement of the merger.

"When a large corporation buys a small brewery, I generally drop the beer immediately," he said. "I just don't like corporations running the world."

But after giving the issue some thought, Peters started thinking of both companies as being more family-owned than large corporations.

"The more I think about it, the more I like the idea for a matter of survival of craft beer," he said.

Dogfish Head has the distinction of being the 13th largest craft beer producer in the country. Consumers say they'll continue their loyalty to the brand as long as the beer maintains its quality.

"I'll drink it," said Ricker. "As long as it's good."
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