Bank sells Smuttynose Brewing to venture capital firm

After buying back struggling New Hampshire brewery Smuttynose for US$8.25 million earlier this month, the Provident Bank has now sold the business to venture capital firm Runnymede Investments.

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.

The bank, which purchased the brewery at a foreclosure auction on 9 March, has now sold on the company to North Hampton-based Runnymede Investments for an undisclosed sum.

President of The Provident Bank, Chuck Withee, commented: “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.

“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”.

Chris Broom Jr. of Runnymede Investments added: “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”.

Egelston and Lindsay will be working closely together during the transition period. The brewery as well as the Hayseed Restaurant will continue to operate during this time and Smuttynose remains open to visitors.

The new CEO Richard Lindsay said: “I’m very happy to be leading this team and building upon the Smuttynose brand’s legacy. Our immediate priorities are focused on growth”.

Among his plans are the hiring of additional sales staff as well as investment in a canning line that will “allow us to participate in a growing segment of the craft beer market”.

Smuttynose was founded in 1994 and currently employs 66 people. Problems at the brewery began when it invested in a new production facility in 2014 which is capable of producing 75,000 barrels per year.

The sale includes the Smuttynose brand, its production facility in Towle Farm, Hayseed Restaurant and 13-acre estate.

Peter Egelston, president and co-founder of Smuttynose, said: “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.”

Co-founder Joanne Francis, added: “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”.

It was previously reported by Brewbound that a local tech entrepreneur, Norman Rice, had reached an agreement with The Provident Bank to purchase the brewery, however his bid was ultimately rejected.

Runnymede Investments is a family owned investment firm, based five miles away from the brewery, which specialises in real estate, private equity, and venture capital.

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