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Smuttynose Auction Ends With Uncertainty About Ultimate Buyer

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An auction to sell the Smuttynose Brewery Friday ended in uncertainty about the business’s future.

A crowd of current employees, bank officials, and mystery bidders gathered on the floor of the Hampton brewery Friday afternoon for the auction. 

After receiving a handful of bids, Provident Bank, the bank that holds the mortgage on Smuttynose, decided to buy the brewery back for $8.25 million.

But that wasn’t the end of the negotiating. Conversations between the bidders and the bank continued after the auction concluded, and a potential sale could be finalized in the near future.

Barbara MacLeod is a spokesperson for Smuttynose.

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"It's going to be business as usual here at Smuttynose. The beer will continue to be brewed, the employees have their jobs, and the bank will be negotiating with potential buyers."

Around the edges of the room, Smuttynose employees like Adam Landry watched the drama unfold.

“There’s definitely a feeling of uncertainty now. I would’ve liked to see the bidding go on further. I know the company’s worth. I’ve been here a decade.”

Smuttynose employs about 70 people at its facility in Hampton. The company announced it would be put up for auction last month, citing rising competition from microbreweries.

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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