By now the news has begun to permeate the Interwebs but in case you missed it – Burlington, Vermont’s Magic Hat Brewing Co. has declared its intent to buy Seattle’s Pyramid Breweries and merge the two companies. The closing of the proposed transaction is expected to occur not later than August 31, 2008. From the official press release,

The board of directors of Pyramid has approved the transactions contemplated by the Letter of Intent.

“The combination of these two well established, high profile craft breweries will be very complementary given our respective brand portfolios and the geographies in which we predominantly operate. Additionally, there will be a number of important benefits for Pyramid to be part of a private company versus continuing to operate as a stand alone public entity. This consolidation makes both good strategic and financial sense and is well timed, particularly as the beer industry’s competitive dynamics continue to intensify,” said Pyramid CEO Scott Barnum. “The Company will continue to have offices in Seattle, its historical home, and will seek opportunities to capitalize on the enhanced assets and capabilities of the new combined entity,” he added.

Martin Kelly, CEO of Magic Hat said, “We have a great deal of respect for Pyramid’s brand heritage, award-winning beers and its dedicated employees, and look forward to consummating this transaction, which provides both strategic and financial benefits both to Pyramid’s and Magic Hat’s stakeholders.”

Pyramid is reportedly facing some financial troubles so the buy-out/merger should come as no surprise. And my guess is that this won’t be the last such merger or buy-out in the craft community (think the Redhook and Widmer merger in ’07 or Shipyard’s purchase of Casco Bay Brewing, for you Mainers, for previous examples), especially with the rising costs of, well, everything.

While its tough to be excited about any craft brewery — especially one as note-worthy as Pyramid — facing financial troubles, the glass half-full view of this venture is those of us on the East Coast will hopefully be able to finally get our hands on all of Pyramid’s famous brews (and vice versa for Magic Hat fans on the left coast) and that’s surely something worth toasting to.


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