Dogfish Head's merger with the maker of Sam Adams fundamentally disrupts the world of craft brewing — and beer lovers have mixed feelings

John Greim/LightRocket via Getty ImagesSome beer fans expressed worries about the merger, while others said they supported the move.

Boston Beer Company, which makes Sam Adams beer, is acquiring Dogfish Head, a Delaware craft brewery.

“Not only are Dogfish Head and Boston Beer two original American breweries, but Jim Koch and I worked hard with other leading craft brewery founders and the Brewers Association to develop and champion what defines independent American brewers,” the Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione said in a statement on Thursday, referring to the Boston Beer founder and chairman. “This merger better positions Dogfish Head and our coworkers to continue growing within this definition for many years to come.”

Calagione added that he and his wife, Mariah, would be “reinvesting nearly all of the proceeds back into the combined entity,” as well as establishing a philanthropic foundation with a portion of their newly acquired Boston Beer stock.

The merger of the publicly traded Boston Beer Company, which also produces Angry Orchard cider, with Dogfish Head, the well-known craft brewery prominently featured in the 2009 documentary “Beer Wars,” is sure to shake up the brewing industry.


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The press release said that the transaction was valued at about $US300 million and that Boston Beer CEO Dave Burwick would helm the company.

Dogfish Head posted a photo on Facebook and Twitter of Calagione sharing a drink with Koch.

Though one Facebook user tagged the pair as “shill” and “sellout,” not everyone who commented on the post had such a negative reaction.

“To the haters: Samuel Adams / Boston Beer may not be perfect, but few people have been as vocal a proponent of craft beer for as long as Jim Koch,” one Facebook user said. “I’d much rather DFH merge with them than get bought by Constellation or (gasp!) ABInbev-SabMillerCoors. We know that BBC won’t force through drastic changes and expansion into other markets that the brand can’t or won’t handle.”

“A lot of you bozos don’t understand what selling out is,” another person wrote. “Two independent companies merging is WAYYYY different than if DFH went with InBev or another corporation. Relax, it’s going to be OK and possibly create a bigger shipping market and MORE BEER.”

Not everyone was convinced, however.

“Sam Adams has been completely out of touch with actual craft beer for a decade at least,” one person wrote. “I don’t see how this is good.”

Another added that Dogfish Head was the “last brewery on earth that I thought would sell out.”

“Not a fan,” another Facebook poster wrote. “Dogfish Head has always been fiercely independent with a focus on unique and sometimes challenging beers. I’ve been to the brewery 6 times, to the brewpub many times. I spent my 31st birthday there and made some incredible memories. This is the last thing that I expected from DFH. What a shame.”

Yet another poster had a nuanced view, writing that the merger was a “good idea on paper.”

“Two crafters who are totally not in a competitive market with each other and could definitely compliment the other by being under one umbrella,” the poster wrote. “BUT I feel we, as the consumer, are going to lose the unique and off the wall beers Sam and Dogfish Head brought us.”

More beer lovers posted their thoughts on Twitter:

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