McDermott Advises Longstanding Client Dogfish Head on Strategic Merger with Boston Beer


McDermott Will & Emery is advising Dogfish Head Brewery on its merger with the Boston Beer Company, the maker of Samuel Adams beer, Angry Orchard hard cider and Truly Hard Seltzer. The merger will bring together two pioneering independent craft breweries and two illustrious founders and brewers, Jim Koch and Sam Calagione. The transaction, valued at approximately $300 million, is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019, subject to closing conditions.

Delaware-based Dogfish Head first opened as the smallest American craft brewery 23 years ago. The independent brewery is now a top-20 craft brewery, which has won numerous awards and expanded to include a distillery and brewpubs.

McDermott’s top-ranked and widely recognized Alcohol Industry Group, led by Marc Sorini, has served as advisor to Dogfish Head on regulatory matters for nearly 20 years. In 2015, McDermott advised the company in connection with the sale of a 15 percent interest to a private equity firm.

“I grew up in this craft beer community with Jim Koch. And I remember the first time I shared a beer with Marc Sorini at a beer tasting event at the Brickskeller over two decades ago. The craft beer landscape has changed so much in those two decades,” said Sam Calagione, Founder & Brewer, Dogfish Head. “Together we are slightly mighty at less than two percent market share in beer, but firmly and proudly within the indie American craft beer community. Jim and I believe this merger better positions our brands and co-workers to grow and be better resourced to compete, innovate, and win for decades to come. The team of leaders at McDermott have been instrumental in helping this merger come to fruition. Namaste team McDermott!”

The McDermott team advising Dogfish Head was led by Tom Conaghan and Marc Sorini, with substantial assistance provided by Christine Kretkowski. Dogfish Head’s General Counsel and former McDermott associate, Shauna Barnes, led the internal team for Dogfish Head. Patrick McCurry led the tax team, with assistance from Dan Zucker, Tom Young and Kevin Hall. Jon Dubrow led the antitrust effort with assistance from Ryan Leske and Matt Evola. Additional assistance was provided by Andrew Kim, Art DeCelle, Daphne Trotter, Maureen O’Brien, David Lipkin, Aimee Lin and Beth Hatef.

Additional information is available in the companies’ press release here.

A Propos De Nous

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