Magic Hat Brewing Co. is one of the oldest breweries in Vermont. Well, it used it be. Soon the famed heritage brand, now owned by FIFCO USA (one of the top 10 brewing roll-ups in the United States by volume), will soon shift its production to FIFCO USA’s newly modernized brewery in Rochester, N.Y. FIFCO USA just announced the company has reached a definitive agreement with Vermont’s Zero Gravity Craft Brewery to sell brewing equipment and transfer its Magic Hat Brewery lease for its South Burlington location.
This has been a bit of a trend for FIFCO USA of late. The company closed its Pyramid Brewing Co.’s Alehouse in Seattle this past May and its Portland Brewing Co. taproom location in 2018.
Established in 1994, Magic Hat currently employs 43 people in South Burlington. Those employees will be laid off but will also receive severance packages. And, employees in brewing and operations will be considered for open positions with Zero Gravity. From the press release:
“As one of the first craft breweries in Vermont, Magic Hat has created a storied history in Burlington. From Alan Newman starting the brewery here, to the wildly creative team who concocted Mardi Gras which attracted crowds of people, our brewery and people have been part of the Vermont community for 26 years,” said Rich Andrews, chief executive officer at FIFCO USA. “Our ties to Burlington made this decision very difficult. In the end, this was the best long term opportunity for both us and our friends at Zero Gravity.
The deal is expected to close July 1, 2020, and is subject to federal permitting. Magic Hat Brewing Co. will shift production to FIFCO USA’s brewery in Rochester. Some Magic Hat beers, including select packages of #9, are already brewed there, according to the press release.
“With the capabilities and capacity of our new brewery and the evolution of Magic Hat, moving the production to Rochester provided the best long term opportunity. We have been brewing a portion of Magic Hat in Rochester for nearly a decade. Having one brewery with new equipment, creates consistent, high quality beer that our Magic Hat consumers have come to expect,” said Andrews.
“As a Vermont based brewery Zero Gravity is excited to be taking over a facility where so much of Burlington’s craft beer history was created. As our production needs continue to grow, this facility right down the road from our Pine St. brewery will allow us to increase our efficiency, while the existing infrastructure will allow us to stay true to our environmental impact goals,” said Matt Wilson, Chief Executive Officer, Zero Gravity Craft Brewery. “The addition of this new facility will allow us to expand our production without sacrificing the space needed for the creative development and innovation that our brewery is known for.”