By: Max Sullivan, Seacoast Online
Runnymede Investments of North Hampton plan to keep Smuttynose Brewing Co. alive as a New Hampshire staple, they said this week after being announced as the company’s new owners.Runnymede was named Smuttynose’s chosen buyer March 16, a week after the Provident Bank bought back the brewery at a foreclosure auction for $8.25 million. The purchase included the brand, as well as its $24-million facility and Hayseed Restaurant at 105 Towle Farm Road. It followed financial struggles caused by craft beer industry changes. The purchase amount was undisclosed, according to a press release from Smuttynose.
Andy Hart of Runnymede said Smuttynose has been a big part of his life personally. He recalled how he and his wife purchased every case of Finestkind IPA in stock at Gary’s Beverages in Portsmouth for their backyard wedding, then ordered more.
“I never would have thought that years later, Smuttynose would enter my life again and create more amazing memories,” said Hart.
In a statement from Runnymede, the new owners said founder Peter Egelston and his partner Joanne Francis “have created something magical here and we want to keep it that way.” Egelston is remaining in place as president for the immediate future, though he said Wednesday it is too early to tell what his long-term role with the brewery will be.
Egelston said the sale was a difficult personal transition for him and Francis but that he was happy to see the company taken over by local investors working to strengthen the brewery he opened 24 years ago. Smuttynose began on Heritage Avenue in Portsmouth and opened its state-of-the-art facility in Hampton in 2014.
“I’m very pleased that the company is in what I believe are good hands going forward,” said Egelston. “Pleased that local investors stepped up and are supporting our company, which has been such an important part of the community for so long.”
Rich Lindsay, chosen by Runnymede as Smuttynose’s new CEO, is working with Egelston in what they described as a transition period that began just a few days ago. Lindsay said putting Smuttynose beer into cans will be a big part of revitalizing the brewery, Egelston having said the recent rise of cans was a factor in Smuttynose’s financial struggles.
Lindsay said the company should begin canning Smuttynose beer within the next 60 to 90 days using a mobile canning unit on the brewery’s campus. He said a larger canning operation will eventually be installed but could take several months to get operational.
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