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Md. Firm, Anheuser-Busch Buy Old Dominion Brewing

By Thomas Heath
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 3, 2007

Old Dominion Brewing, whose pub is a favorite of the high-tech crowd near Dulles International Airport and whose microbrews are sold throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, will soon have new owners from the Free State.

The company has been sold to a joint venture of Maryland-based Fordham Brewing and Anheuser-Busch of St. Louis, the new owners announced yesterday.

The new company, to be called Coastal Brewing, will sell and market Old Dominion and Fordham brands, including Dominion Ale, Dominion Lager, Oak Barrel Stout, Fordham Copperhead, Fordham Lager, Oyster Stout and others.

Coastal also will assume ownership of the Old Dominion brewery and Old Dominion Brewpub, both in Ashburn. The brewery is in an office park near the Washington and Old Dominion Trail, and is a favorite stop for runners and bike riders.

"We are excited about the opportunities Coastal Brewing will provide to both the Old Dominion and Fordham brands and introducing them to even more beer lovers in the Mid-Atlantic states," William Muehlhauser, Fordham's chief executive, said in a written statement released today.

Muehlhauser will be managing partner in the new company. He is the founder of Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis, which has expanded to include sites at Savage Mill in Howard County, in Baltimore and in Rehoboth Beach, Del.

Starting April 1, Anheuser-Busch will become the master distributor for the Old Dominion and Fordham brands. Fordham owns 51 percent of Coastal, with Anheuser-Busch holding 49 percent, according to the announcement.

A sale price was not announced, but Old Dominion President Jerry Bailey, who owned 22 percent of the brewery, said several weeks ago that he thought Old Dominion was worth $4 million to $6 million.

Bailey signed a letter of intent with the buyers more than two months ago. He did not return telephone messages seeking comment.

In a news release announcing the sale, Bailey said: "I'm proud to entrust the wonderful beers we have brewed at Old Dominion since 1990 to Fordham and Anheuser-Busch. Under Coastal's stewardship, the quality of Old Dominion brands will be protected."

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