DuClaw Brewing’s Founder is Seeking A New Investor – Or Buyer – for His Brewery

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Image via DuClaw Brewing Co./Facebook

Ever wanted to own a craft brewery with some brand name appeal and a relatively broad distribution reach? You’re in luck.

After more than two decades of making beer under the DuClaw Brewing Co. name, owner and founder Dave Benfield said in a release yesterday that he’s seeking a partner or buyer for his company.

“This has been a huge part of my life for the past 21 years, and we are incredibly proud of the story we have created,” he said. “It’s time for a new chapter and we are excited to see what options are available to us that will allow DuClaw to continue to grow and provide unique offerings to our loyal, craft beer fans.”

Benfield’s found his company in 1996, opening a brewpub up in Bel Air. His business has since outgrown that space and another; DuClaw moved into its current 63,000-square-foot headquarters in Rosedale three years ago. The company has also grown to a point where it produces roughly 35,000 barrels of beer per year. Recent additions to the Rosedale facility include a new brewing system and a bottling line.

The latter piece is likely why you’ve seen DuClaw’s name before. Its deliciously heavy “Sweet Baby Jesus!” chocolate peanut butter porter can be found on many store shelves and, on occasion, on tap at bars.

The company notably puts out far more beers – 65 in all, actually – and has significantly broadened its distribution reach in the past three years, Benfield said in the release. However, he’s now at a crossroads.

“Growing distribution takes time and money, and I am at a point where I either need to pass the baton to someone else or find a partner to help me take DuClaw to the next level,” he said.

He’s retained Easton-based Equity Partners HG to find new investors or a buyer. Matt LoCascio, a managing partner with the investment banking company, told Brewbound DuClaw is seeking “the right fit” for whoever is going to lead the brewery in a new direction.

DuClaw isn’t the only Baltimore-area craft brewery undergoing major changes. Heavy Seas in Halethorpe, which is roughly as old as DuClaw, picked a new CEO to take the reigns in March, and Woodberry’s Union Craft Brewing announced in May that it’s moving into a new headquarters a half-mile away in 2018, which will allow it to triple its production capacity.

Ethan McLeod
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