February 27, 2024

The Boston Globe

The merger of the Boston-area brewers takes place amid broader consolidation within the craft beer trade.

Dorchester Brewing and Aeronaut are combining forces. PHOTO COURTESY OF DORCHESTER BREWING CO.

The homeowners of Dorchester Brewing Co. and Aeronaut Brewing Co. have crafted a brand new recipe for growth as their once-fizzy trade goes flat: teaming up via a merger.

The Dorchester- and Somerville-based brewers have reached a merger deal that may put Dorchester Brewing chief government Matt Malloy in control of the mixed firm. Malloy hopes to deliver as many as three different regional brewers into the fold ultimately, underneath the brand new group title, “Tasty Liquid Alliance.”

Staff at each Dorchester Brewing and Aeronaut have been knowledgeable in regards to the corporations’ intent to merge on Thursday. Aeronaut, fashioned in 2014, will preserve its Somerville taproom however will shut its manufacturing facility in Everett early subsequent yr. It would now brew at Dorchester Brewing’s plant in Boston’s Newmarket space.

Aeronaut co-chief executives Dan Rassi and Ronn Friedlander will stay with the mixed firm, as will most of Aeronaut’s 50 full- and part-time staff. Not all of Aeronaut’s 9 manufacturing staff in Everett will probably be provided jobs in Dorchester, however Malloy and Friedlander mentioned it’s nonetheless unclear what number of of them will make the transfer. Dorchester Brewing, in the meantime, employs about 40 folks.

One large aim of the deal, per Friedlander, is to mix buying and advertising and marketing energy. Whereas each the Aeronaut and Dorchester manufacturers would proceed, the merger would enhance the brewers’ leverage in negotiations over all the pieces from gear to components to restaurant faucets. The merger is anticipated to shut a couple of yr from now.

The deal comes amid a nationwide plateau in craft beer gross sales, one which adopted a decade-plus of torrid development earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re all seeking to develop our respective manufacturers,” Friedlander mentioned. “There’s a nationwide consolidation that’s occurring, and it’s nice to be on the forefront of that.”

Beers have been served at an Aeronaut occasion in 2014.

Dorchester Brewing was launched in 2016 as a contract brewer. Its most important enterprise stays brewing beer for different corporations — with its in-house beers making up lower than 10 p.c of its quantity — and Aeronaut had some wholesale enterprise as effectively.

Malloy mentioned he expects to extend the mixed corporations’ wholesale work with the merger by changing into extra environment friendly and sharing experience.

“After we deliver manufacturing from Aeronaut, that permits us to make extra capital expenditures,” Malloy mentioned. “That advantages everyone. I’m filling capability. I’m not cannibalizing capability.”

Malloy mentioned the merger isn’t nearly gaining economies of scale. It’s additionally about bringing like-minded folks collectively underneath one roof.

Malloy mentioned he’s looking out for different brewers to hitch the group. They received’t essentially be brewers, although: He notes he’s licensed to provide cider and wine as effectively.

“We’re on the lookout for different those that have an identical ardour for product and group,” Malloy mentioned. “This isn’t like a personal fairness rollup the place we’re squeezing nickels and attempting to create uniform product in all places. That’s not what prospects need.”