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Citing Microbrewery Competition, Smuttynose is Going Up for Auction

Courtesy Smuttynose Brewing Company

Smuttynose Brewing Company announced big news today - it's putting itself up for auction.

In a statement, Smuttynose owner Peter Egelston says the explosion of microbreweries onto the beer market came right as his company made a major investment in a new state-of-the-art brewing facility.

To stay afloat, Egelston says the company now needs a “major infusion of capital.”

Bart Watson, an economist with the Brewers Association, says Smuttynose is just the latest regional craft brewery to feel squeezed by new competition.

"This is something that a lot of regional craft brewers are experiencing. It's not unique to Smuttynose and certainly isn't indicative of any issues on their part in terms of beer quality or anything like that."

Watson says that new competition isn't coming only from local start-up breweries.

“At the same time, they’re getting squeezed from the top as Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors introduce more fuller-flavored products and are able to push those through their distribution systems.”

Named after one of the Isles of Shoals, Smuttynose is the state’s largest craft brewery. It is based in Hampton and employees 68 people.

The Portsmouth Brewery brewpub in downtown Portsmouth, which is also owned by Egelston, is not part of the sale.

An auction has been scheduled for March 9th. In the meantime, Egelston says the company will remain open for business.

Jason Moon is a senior reporter and producer on the Document team. He has created longform narrative podcast series on topics ranging from unsolved murders, to presidential elections, to secret lists of police officers.

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