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Magic Hat - from Vermont owned to NY owned to Costa Rican owned.

Discussion in 'US - New England' started by celfan, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. celfan

    celfan Member

    Location:
    Vermont
    What a disaster. Everything that's wrong with the beer industry. Vermont's most bland beer with the cool psychadelic cans is now in the hands of conglomerate that will pitch Vermont's hippie cool image to college kids everywhere . The American beer industry has always been about taking a crap product and marketing the hell out of it to a niche audience. Now South Burlington's Magic Hat is a player.
  2. benbking

    benbking Member

    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Don't playa hate, participate!
  3. Kinsman

    Kinsman Member

    Location:
    California
    I wouldn't call what the big guys do marketing to a "niche audience" but agree that it's sad to see Magic Hat go down this road. The big guys are targeting anyone that will listen, but MH is very much going after a young and hip crowd with that pseudo earthy-cruchy vibe going on. It's rather unfortunate how well it works but it if opens any young college kids eyes up to trying other "local" beers I guess it's not all that bad. MH is still mostly brewed in So. Burlington but clearly it's ownership has drifted far from Vermont. I wonder how many of those college kids at UVM that rave about it as their favorite local beer realize this.
    FrankLloydMike likes this.
  4. youbrewidrink

    youbrewidrink Member

    Location:
    Vermont
    I just view this as change, sometimes change is good. It's too soon to tell what direction the new owners will take.

    There are some great Vermont BA's that work at Magic Hat, so I will still support them when they produce good brews.
    jamvt likes this.
  5. Flashy

    Flashy Member

    Location:
    Vermont
    Sounds like Ben and Jerry's. Holier than thou business people who make big bucks and sell out.
  6. Longstaff

    Longstaff Member

    Location:
    Massachusetts
    I don't care who owns them or how or who they market it to, for me its all about providing a product that I would like to drink. Magic Hat hasn't been that for many years now for me.

    If you don't like to drink their beers, then why would you care, there's plenty of other options out there.
  7. Brad007

    Brad007 Member

    Location:
    Vermont
    Nah. Those kids are out there buying up all the Heady Topper and Switchback.

    And it pisses me off but hey, capitalism! Haven't had a can of Heady in a few months.
    SupremePie likes this.
  8. Kinsman

    Kinsman Member

    Location:
    California
    Switchback, yes. Heady... well, I'm sure it sells out in Burlington because of them but I doubt many students are driving the 30-40 minutes over to the cannery to buy multiple cases at a time. It's a combo of strong local support and beer geek tourists that are buying it out elsewhere.
  9. Brad007

    Brad007 Member

    Location:
    Vermont
    They better not be Ebaying either because that is just totally wrong.

    Waiting for the next "big thing" to come along so I can buy some Heady once again.
  10. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Member

    Location:
    Vermont
    There will be twice as much Heady by January...
    sailorastro and franklinn like this.
  11. Brad007

    Brad007 Member

    Location:
    Vermont
    Would love to buy a case and have it be the only beer that I drink, since I rarely drink beer anymore. :)
  12. pbrian

    pbrian Member

    Location:
    Connecticut
    Well said. This news means absolutely nothing to me.
  13. Beertsipper

    Beertsipper Member

    Location:
    New York
    I like Magic Hat, both in the bottle and on tap. I don't care if it was brewed on Mars by li'l green men.... Love the stuff.
  14. imbrue001

    imbrue001 Member

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Ben & Jerry's is a completely predictable joke these days. Hey lets make all our unique containers look the same. Hey lets pick a random flavor and pair it with pie crust or cake bits. Hey lets repackage Cherry Garcia and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough for the 100th time and call it new. ZZZzzzzz boring.
  15. Rochefort10nh

    Rochefort10nh Member

    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Magic Hat has been a travesty for years. I can't stand their marketing. I can't stand their beer. Can we please make a switch and bring back Catamount and but this filthy hippy hype brand to bed already;)!
    joshg1973 and codasnap52 like this.
  16. SunDevilBeer

    SunDevilBeer Member

    Location:
    Massachusetts
    FWIW I find their winter seasonal Howl (a Schwarzbier) excellent. Some of the "IPA on tour" beers have been decent too.

    The marketing shtick is annoying but I could really care less who owns them. The "back stories" with new nano craft breweries get entirely too much play nowadays. Give me fresh tasty beer at a reasonable price & I'm interested.
    JrGtr likes this.
  17. Brad007

    Brad007 Member

    Location:
    Vermont
    I can respect that MH has a business model that while appalling to some BAs, has worked very well for them over the years. More power to them.

    But, I'd like to see them hire people that aren't snobs or wanna-be musicians. Had a buddy who worked there and they fired him because he asked too many questions. Too bad because at least we had plenty of free beer to party with.

    I've tried countless times to get a job there to no avail and I am a short walk away. Maybe they just don't like deaf people? (my friend is deaf too)
  18. jamvt

    jamvt Member

    Location:
    Massachusetts
    If they had such a good business model, why did they originally seek funding from a venture capitalist? Their business model has always been their achilles heal and is the reason they're sold like bottles of Hill Farmstead on ebay.

    If you're referring to their marketing, then that's your opinion, but I've always respected their involvement in the live music scene and found their grass roots marketing clever and aesthetically appealing.

    That being said, i know many Magic Hat employees present and past, and they're all great people. Not to mention they are a very philanthropic company who have time and time again worked closely with their community. The proceeds from the annual Mardi Gras parade have greatly helped the Burlington woman's rape crisis center, now called Hope Works.

    While #9 may not be for everyone, they brew drinkable consistent beers with the occasionally gem. I'll now step down off my soapbox.
  19. Brad007

    Brad007 Member

    Location:
    Vermont
    I understand Magic Hat's commitment to music but if they're so interested in music, why not just sell off the beer part and concentrate on music marketing?

    The beer should always, always come first. The quirky stuff, while great, shouldn't be the main focus of a beer company.

    By business model, they sell a lot of #9. I broke my craft beer cherry on #9 and other Magic Hat brews so yes, they are still relevant in this scene.

    I think it's silly that MH beers are sold on EBay with the same fervor as HF. That's just ridiculous.
  20. celfan

    celfan Member

    Location:
    Vermont
    Alan Newman was Magic Hat and when he left it became just another brewery.

    "A considerable chunk of the book is devoted to the events that forced Newman out of Magic Hat. He recounts that he was on a motorcycle trip in Maine in June 2010 when he got an email summoning him back to Burlington to meet the “new owners” of Magic Hat.

    The new owners?” Newman remembers thinking. “Up until that moment I thought we were the owners of Magic Hat. And by ‘we’ I really meant ‘me.’ Hadn’t I started the company? Didn’t I pour my heart and soul into it for 17 years?”

    The die had been cast four years earlier, however, in 2006. Magic Hat was “rolling in dough” at the time, Newman recalls, and brought on a financial partner, Connecticut hedge fund Basso Capital Management, to help it acquire Pyramid Breweries for $25 million.

    “When we did the Pyramid deal, I went from majority shareholder to minority shareholder and, in doing so, I gave up some rights,” Newman explains. “It seemed like a good idea at the time because no one knew that the economy was going to tank in 2008.”

    When it did, the Pyramid deal went belly up. The bank that was financing it pulled out, and Basso was looking to unload Magic Hat “as quickly as possible,” Newman says.

    He made one request: Do not sell the company to KPS Capital Partners, a private equity company that owns North American Breweries, makers of Labatt Blue, Genesee, Dundee and Honey Brown. Newman wanted an owner that would be a “good fit” for Magic Hat’s brand — “maybe a European brewery looking for a strong foothold in the American craft-brewing market.”

    Just the opposite occurred. Magic Hat went to North American Breweries.
  21. Flashy

    Flashy Member

    Location:
    Vermont
    Who cares?
  22. jamvt

    jamvt Member

    Location:
    Massachusetts
    at the very least, the 491 people who have thus far viewed the thread. just sayin'...
  23. Flashy

    Flashy Member

    Location:
    Vermont
    I read the post and don't care what happens to Magic Hat. I would imagine most people on this website could not care less either. just sayin"...
  24. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Member

    Location:
    Vermont
    I care a little because I don't want to see Genny Cream Ale made at MH for some reason (since they are the same co.). I'd hate to see my favorite lawnmower swill ruined.

    Re: #9 in above posts, Alan Newman is on record as saying (before the takeover) that 80% of MH employees refuse to drink it even though they can have all they want free of charge.
  25. Schwerzpunkt

    Schwerzpunkt Member

    Doesn't really bother me. If they want to sell out, then fine. I do have a bit of a soft spot for them though. I drank a few of their beers when I first stated drinking craft and they really helped me get into it.
  26. Flashy

    Flashy Member

    Location:
    Vermont
    when they first came out they I really liked their stuff. Don't if they changed or I changed.
  27. youbrewidrink

    youbrewidrink Member

    Location:
    Vermont
    Re: #9 in above posts, Alan Newman is on record as saying (before the takeover) that 80% of MH employees refuse to drink it even though they can have all they want free of charge.[/quote]

    Alan Newman is"king sell out" in this whole situation. He thinks we are all stupid enough to believe the he did not fully understand the financial implications of the investor group when the Pyramid fiasco occured. That is utter bullshit, he knew exactly what was going on and made out like a fucking bandit.

    No matter what the past, present or future branding of Magi Hat is, they do have a well marketed product that at times I enjoy. I don't plan on carrying their flag for them, but I am not going to throw stones at them either.
    JrGtr and FrankLloydMike like this.
  28. mschofield

    mschofield Member

    Location:
    Massachusetts
    my only problem with them is every time they make a beer I like, they discontinue it

    and that goes back way past 2006
    CTBadger and franklinn like this.
  29. jamvt

    jamvt Member

    Location:
    Massachusetts
    at least heart of darkness is back as the winter seasonal this year.
  30. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Member

    Location:
    Vermont
    [quote Alan Newman is"king sell out" in this whole situation. He thinks we are all stupid enough to believe the he did not fully understand the financial implications of the investor group when the Pyramid fiasco occured. That is utter bullshit, he knew exactly what was going on and made out like a fucking bandit. [/quote]

    Newman has been all about selling things his whole life. He never made any attempt to cover that up or deny it. MH was for sale to anyone with enough cash the day it opened.
  31. Stormfield

    Stormfield Member

    Location:
    Massachusetts
    I care about average people with jobs at Magic Hat. Sure, the beer isn't very exciting. But when these places get bought and sold, regular people sometimes get squashed. Not trying to attack you, I'm just saying. Whenever a company gets sold, loyal, hard-working employees are the first to get screwed.
  32. Flashy

    Flashy Member

    Location:
    Vermont
    Of course I care if people lose their jobs, doesn't sound like Magic Hat is going anywhere though. The beer may suffer in deals like this, but usually the people who work there don't get hurt.
  33. celfan

    celfan Member

    Location:
    Vermont

    settle down man, we don't want you to have a grabber.
  34. Flashy

    Flashy Member

    Location:
    Vermont
    "at the very least, the 491 people who have thus far viewed the thread. just sayin'..."

    Just returning the compliment.
  35. Brad007

    Brad007 Member

    Location:
    Vermont
    Damn.

    I'd love it if he could somehow buy it back with a group of partners or whatnot.

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