To me, it always felt like Fordham and Dominion were a bit like the Rodney Dangerfield of Delaware brewing – some people just refused to give them any respect.
Which was sad, because in every way one could measure a vibrant, community active brewery, F&D seemed to either fit the bill or go above and beyond. But unfortunately there was one blemish on their otherwise fine looking resume which some people simply could not get past. No, try to say or write anything nice about the myriad of things F&D do that can be presented in a positive light, and some people would quickly pull the shades closed and declare, “they’re owned by AB InBev!”
I have to be honest, I’d heard it or read it so many times, that chorus of disdain that was presented with so much damnation that one could literally hear the dismissive “whatever” snap at the end of the statement.
So many times I’d heard it in fact that I finally broke down and asked the brewery about their official standing with AB InBev that resulted in me having a nice chat with F&D President Jim Lutz, in which I admit, though I might not have found it as satisfying as I was hoping for with the percentage of stake that AB InBev held in the breweries, I did find comfort that the corporate giant was not involved with the day-to-day operations and decisions at the brewery.
But still people would cast stones and I feared the brewery, to some people’s eyes, would never step out of the shadow of being owned to an extent by a company that unfortunately caused the Brewer’s Association to label them as “non-craft”. But that was until recently.
Last week I posted some new labels from the brewery for Copperhead Ale and Gypsy Lager, pointing out changes in the designs and the branding. There was one other change as well, but one I did not want to comment on without first reaching out to the brewery to see if I could get some more clarification. This is the change that got me excited:
That’s the Brewer’s Association Independent Craft Brewer Seal, that can only be placed on the label of a beer made by a brewery that meets the BA’s definition of independent – a definition that until quite recently F&D did not meet.
So I reached out to F&D for some information concerning the seal and what that meant for the brewery and Vice President of Sales, Giuseppe Desilvio was nice enough to pass on some good news, “Yes, just [a] few months ago we signed our “divorce papers” from Anheuser-Busch InBev, so Fordham & Dominion is now 100% independently owned.”
That’s great news for the brewery and a win in general for Delaware beer scene. But, Giuseppe informed me that there will be a few other changes due to this new found independence.
“We just started a full package re-fresh, and all of our products moving forward will have the Independent Craft Seal on it and will come out under the “Fordham & Dominion” logo. We are merging our two portfolios and will no longer release beers under just “Fordham” or “Dominion””.
That was interesting as the two portfolios were kept quite separate and indeed were quite distinctive from each other – especially the Pin-up series. How will those labels change? We’ll just have to wait and see. As for now, I’m just glad that the old retort, “Yeah, but they’re partially owned by Budweiser” can be laid to rest once and for all.
As always, I’d like to thank Giuseppe Desilvio for taking some of his valuable time to talk to me.