Runnymede Investments LLC Acquires Smuttynose Brewing Company From The Provident Bank

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by Jason, Mar 16, 2018.

  1. Jason

    Jason Founder (8,161) Aug 23, 1996 Massachusetts

    Hampton, New Hampshire (March 16th 2017) – The Provident Bank, which purchased Smuttynose Brewing Company at a foreclosure auction on March 9, has sold the company to North Hampton-based Runnymede Investments for an undisclosed amount. Says The Provident Bank President Chuck Withee, “The Provident Bank is impressed with the Runnymede team on so many levels. They are passionate business leaders and great all-around people, who are part of our Seacoast community. Runnymede has teamed up with a very professional brewery executive, Rich Lindsay, who knows Smuttynose founder Peter Egelston and the team very well and there is deep, mutual respect. Runnymede Investments has the resources to take this popular brand to new heights. Smuttynose fans and employees should rest assured that this local treasure will not only survive, but will thrive in the coming months and years ahead.” Withee added, “Make Mine A Smutty!” referencing the popular tagline. The Provident Bank was the lead lender and was the high bidder at the auction with a bid of 8.25 million dollars.

    Chris Broom Jr. of Runnymede Investments expressed enthusiasm for having the opportunity to invest in New Hampshire’s largest craft brewery. “Peter and Joanne have assembled a great team and an impressive production facility. We’re taking a long view and plan on making immediate investments to strengthen the brand and return to growth. We’re also pleased to be adding Richard Lindsay as Chief Executive Officer to the team. Rich is a seasoned industry veteran having held executive roles with Samuel Adams, Tuthilltown Spirits, Night Shift Brewing as well as consulting roles with numerous startups in the alcoholic beverage industry.”

    “I’m very happy to be leading this team and building upon the Smuttynose brand’s legacy,” commented Mr. Lindsay. “Our immediate priorities are focused on growth. We’re making plans to add personnel to our sales team and provide them with resources to make them effective in this competitive market. We also plan to make an investment in a canning line that will allow us to participate in a growing segment of the craft beer market.”

    Egelston and Lindsay will be working closely to ensure a smooth transition and to shape the next generation of sales and marketing for the brewery.

    Founded in 1994, Smuttynose Brewing Company, employs 66 people and generates more than 10 million dollars in annual revenue. It is the Granite State’s leading craft brewery and produces some of New England’s most popular craft beers. The sale includes the Smuttynose brand, its state-of-the-art, LEED – Gold certified facility on the historic Towle Farm in Hampton, and Hayseed Restaurant located next to the brewery on the picturesque 13-acre campus. The brewery is among the largest in New England, capable of producing 75,000 barrels a year.

    Peter Egelston, President and founder of Smuttynose shared the news with the brewery’s staff. “All of us here are Smuttynose are eager to turn the page and start our next chapter. We are pleased to know that we’ll be working with investors from within our own community, people who are familiar with our brand and appreciate what we’ve built here.”

    Egelston’s partner, Joanne Francis, is relieved that the future is no longer in limbo, saying, “A company like Smuttynose doesn’t just pop up overnight. Our culture and reputation for quality are the result of decades of work, devotion and creativity. We’ve built a strong foundation with a lot of untapped potential, but circumstances over the last couple of years have held us back. With a strong partner who understands that potential, there’s no limit to what we can now accomplish. We can’t wait to roll up our sleeves and get started!”

    There has been no disruption in the transition. The brewery and Hayseed Restaurant continue to operate, as well as all planned events on site. They welcome visitors and patrons.

    Runnymede Investments is a family owned and operated investment firm headquartered five miles from the Smuttynose Brewery in North Hampton. Runnymede specializes in real estate, private equity, and venture capital.


    Left to right: Jake Broom, Chris Broom Jr., Jason Frechette, and Andrew Hart from Runnymede, with new Smuttynose CEO Rich Lindsay, Smuttynose Founders Joanne Francis and Peter Egelston.
    #1 Jason, Mar 16, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2018
  2. Bierman9

    Bierman9 Poo-Bah (4,456) Dec 20, 2001 New Hampshire

    Old news..... :stuck_out_tongue::wink:

    SunDevilBeer and JackHorzempa like this.
  3. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,208) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Premium Trader

  4. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,713) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I think this is great news!! Smuttynose wiill continue as a brewery/brand and hopefully all 66 employees will get to keep their jobs.

    This is a Win-Win-Win IMO.

    Cheers to the new ownership of Runnymede Investments for what they are doing here!!!
    meefmoff, hopley, PatrickCT and 4 others like this.
  5. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,713) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Dave, I did not understand your post here but then I visited the other thread and the 'light bulb' turned on.

    Bierman9 likes this.
  6. rgordon

    rgordon Champion (860) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Are the old dudes still going to "reside" on Finestkind packaging? Old retro is like mashed potatoes and meatloaf! Well, maybe some packaging tweaks wouldn't hurt......
  7. Jason

    Jason Founder (8,161) Aug 23, 1996 Massachusetts

    Press release was sent out today ... figured I'd refresh the forum with it.
  8. Jason

    Jason Founder (8,161) Aug 23, 1996 Massachusetts

    Very happy to hear this ... been a long time fan and would have to see this brand fade away.
    guinness77, OffTrail, hopley and 5 others like this.
  9. EnronCFO

    EnronCFO Devotee (496) Mar 29, 2007 Massachusetts

    Glad someone bought it and hope these guys know what they’re doing and keep Smutty going. I believe this is the grandkids of a successful businessman making their first big investment on their own for the family office. I think it’ll take more than a canning line and more salespeople to right the ship though. Rich Lindsay was only at Night Shift (a rapidly growing brewery) for a year, so a little odd that he’s leaving for Smutty. But maybe he considers himself a turnaround specialist. Will be interesting to watch. If it means consistently fresh Finest Kind, I’m all for it.
  10. Squire

    Squire Poo-Bah (2,033) Jul 16, 2015 Mississippi
    Premium Trader

    Glad to see the taps will continue to flow, so to speak.
  11. kjlcm

    kjlcm Initiate (188) Jul 16, 2013 New Hampshire

    Wow this looks like a best case scenario for Smutty and us fans of the brewery. I recommend anyone able to visit the brewery to do so; take the tour, drink the samples, and then get your cheap beer at Hayseed next door with your sample card.

    Looking forward to seeing some new beers coming out of there. How about a hazy IPA Smutty? :slight_smile:
  12. oldbean

    oldbean Aspirant (272) Jun 30, 2005 Massachusetts

    Ah yes, the most qualified people you can find: trust fund kids.

    Hoping for the best, but the fundamental challenges that Smutty faces haven't changed, and it remains to be seen if the new owners/management has any real idea of how to address them.
    jmdrpi likes this.
  13. FrankLloydMike

    FrankLloydMike Devotee (407) Aug 16, 2006 Massachusetts

    If one of the fundamental challenges was the debt burden from building their new brewery, that may very well have changed (the reporting isn't clear on how Runnymede is funding their purchase).

    Installing a canning line will also address one of the challenges. Obviously, they need to put out some new beers (hazy IPA's) in this market, but I hope that doesn't mean we'll stop seeing the excellent beers Smutty makes now. My guess would be that they'll also need to do some contract brewing for smaller breweries unless or until they can fill capacity on their own.

    So I'd say that some but certainly not all of the fundamental challenges have changed, and it remains to be seen whether Runnymede, Rich Lindsay, Peter Egleston and the rest of the folks at Smuttynose will be able to address those that remain.
  14. Bierman9

    Bierman9 Poo-Bah (4,456) Dec 20, 2001 New Hampshire

    I don't know squat about the financials, but I do think they missed the boat on canning. Also thought they should have gotten in on the tickerific hazy, Heady Topper-like IPA craze... I , personally , don't need one of those, as there are numerous Smutty biers that sate my palate without having to stand in lines... wishing them all the best.... Prosit !!
    FatBoyGotSwagger likes this.
  15. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,344) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Worked out alright for the future of the American brewing industry when the "scion of a washing machine company", a Literature and Japanese Studies major, bought a brewery half a century ago...
  16. oldbean

    oldbean Aspirant (272) Jun 30, 2005 Massachusetts

    Ok. QED I guess.
  17. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,108) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Premium Trader

    Will the new tagline be "Make mine Runny"? :wink:
    gardenstatepkwy and Bierman9 like this.
  18. Bierman9

    Bierman9 Poo-Bah (4,456) Dec 20, 2001 New Hampshire

    That's my feeling on AB-Inbev products... ;-)

  19. matthewp

    matthewp Initiate (161) Feb 27, 2015 Massachusetts

    Debt burden wasn't a challenge, it was a result of not addressing other issues. Even if they had spent less money on the brewery they would have run themselves into the ground eventually. People keep on saying the lack of canning was an issue but IMHO that's over stated. For the most part people seek out cans because they associate them with hyped up IPA's or because they are more convenient. Smutty never made beers that matter for people looking for hyped IPA's. Canning was more important for the type of people looking for them for convenience. Being able to take them to pools, beaches, etc. where glass isn't allowed or it isn't practical. Convenience has nothing to do with the craft beer movement which Peter keeps referencing. Maine Beer Co still only bottles and it doesn't look like they are failing.

    All challenges really lead back to Peter, he lacked the business acumen and marketing skills to succeed. The Smuttlabs branding didn't really make sense. Why create a pseudo second brand for limited release beers? It makes sense for a company like Jack's Abbey who is focused on lagers to create a second brand that's focused on ales but the Smuttlabs beers augmented the Smuttynose brand. If they were truly small batch only available at the brewery then maybe it would have worked. It makes you assume that if something is good then it gets promoted to regular rotation in the regular Smuttynose brand which it didn't. The whole branding just wasn't very appealing. Even the bottle art wasn't appealing and they never really marketed them correctly. I can't remember even seeing tastings anywhere and lots of places never even carried Smutty. When I read the descriptions of the beers though I keep asking myself why I haven't had more of them. I bought Clown Shoes Snow on Maple Trees the other day after thinking about getting Smuttlabs "The Stallion". Similar prices but I know Snow on Maple Trees was a limited release, their marketing got to me for better or worse. You have no idea what Smuttlabs beers are yearly releases vs sometimes releases vs one time releases. Its small things like expecting a certain beer every February and comparing the beer year to year. We get excited for beers like BCBS, KBS, CBS, etc. because we look forward to them. Peter was involved with Kate the Great at Portsmouth Brewing so you'd think he understood the appeal. So bottom line the new owner will fix the capital issue they had but it will be up to the new CEO to fix the other issues which are far more important.
    Alexmc2 likes this.
  20. Alexmc2

    Alexmc2 Aspirant (240) Jul 29, 2006 Massachusetts

    Completely agree with everything you've said. Except that the debt burden wasn't a challenge, they were clearly overleveraged from the financial statements I read. Chicken and the egg situation I suppose, you correctly state that the debt could have been overcome if they had understood their business better.
    FrankLloydMike and matthewp like this.
  21. matthewp

    matthewp Initiate (161) Feb 27, 2015 Massachusetts

    Yes they were over leveraged. It was a self created challenge, that's more what I was trying to say.
    Alexmc2 likes this.
  22. jesskidden

    jesskidden Meyvn (1,344) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Brewbound follow-up article on the deal:
    Following Sale to VC Firm, Smuttynose Regroups

    jmdrpi and FrankLloydMike like this.
  23. meefmoff

    meefmoff Zealot (540) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    Oddly enough I was at the Tap Brewery a month or so before the auction and when I asked the bartender about their canning setup (it's a small place so they clearly don't do it in house) he told me they had recently signed a contracting deal with Smuttynose. When I mentioned that I thought I had heard they were being sold at auction he just said that they were confident it would all work out.

    I didn't know what to think of it at the time, but it would now appear that either a) he was a fortune teller or more likely b) they had entered into talks with Smuttynose but weren't going to sign anything until the auction shook out.

    Either way Tap Brewing makes great beer. Buy some and support two cool breweries!