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January 23, 2024

Wachusett Brewing bought by New Hampshire craft beer company

A large building with tables and chairs in front. Photo | Grant Welker The Wachusett Brew Yard at Worcester Public Market

The oldest craft brewery in Central Massachusetts will soon be under new ownership, as FinestKind Brewing, the owners of New Hampshire’s Smuttynose Brewing, had purchased Wachusett Brewing in Westminster. 

The move, which was first reported by the Boston Globe on Friday and formally announced in a Smuttynose-issued press release on Monday, allows Smuttynose to double its revenue and solidify itself as one of the largest players in the Northeast craft beer market, according to the company.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

“This acquisition is a strategic step in our market expansion,” Steve Kierstead, CEO of Smuttynose, said in the release. “Wachusett’s strong market presence and additional 15,000 beer barrels notably increase our total annual volume to over 50,000 barrels, marking a new chapter in our growth story.”

A beer barrel is 31 gallons and is the main way breweries measure their output. Wachusett produced 18,000 barrels in 2022, making it the fourth largest brewery in the region behind Jack’s Abby Brewing in Framingham, Tree House Brewing in Charlton, and Wormtown Brewery in Worcester, according to data collected by the WBJ Research Department. 

This acquisition comes after FinestKind Brewing bought Brooklyn-based craft brewery Five Boroughs Brewing in November.

Hospitality settings run by Wachusett Brewing, which include a taproom in Westminster and a brew yard in the Worcester Public Market, will continue to operate under their ownership. 

Smuttynose told WBJ that 90% of Wachusett’s employees will stay with the company following the acquisition. Wachusett told WBJ in a business survey it had 180 employees as of May 2023.

Wachusett Brewing was incorporated in 1993 in the early days of the nation’s craft beer revival, and expanded its operations to its Kelley Square brew yard in 2019.

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