Um, wow. This is really happening. No doubt you have questions. So do we.
Fear not, there will still be Old Ox beers and there will still be Silver Branch beers. But here’s something you didn’t know: Silver Branch has made three beers already at Old Ox. If you’ve been to Silver Branch, there’s a good chance you’ve already had them and didn’t notice.
The two brewing companies will release a collaboration beer to celebrate this merger in early May. Details on that beer, and a celebration, are to be determined. In the new company–Silver Ox–Silver Branch Co-Founder Christian Layke will be Director of Brewing with Silver Branch Co-Founder Brett Robison as Director of Operations. Chris Burns, Co-Founder of Old Ox, will serve as Director of Sales.
We’re more familiar with the Silver Branch side of things, and our analysis begins there.
What do you get a rapidly growing brewery for their third anniversary? Well the traditional gift is throwing yourself a party, and Silver Branch Brewing has done just that. Less traditionally, however, they’ve also gotten themselves a bit more space.
Silver Branch Co-founder, Chief Operating Officer, and Director of Sales Brett Robison has cited the challenges of “wedging a brewery into an office tower,” as told to Brightest Young Things’ Phil Runco in 2020. Loans during the pandemic allowed the brewery to reach its capacity in terms of installing additional brewing equipment and cold storage. At the time Robison talked to Runco, in August of 2020, these expansions were designed to satisfy the market “At least a year and a half.” Well, it’s been about that long, and the first step to increasing brewing capacity outside the Silver Spring brewery is upon us. In late 2021, Silver Branch began contract brewing the first of three beers at Old Ox in Ashburn, Virginia: Cosmic Winter, their winter IPA. A dry stout and Cosmic Summer IPA followed earlier this year.
“It’s nice that we’ve grown to the point where we are having trouble meeting demand, but it’s also frustrating because we are finding it difficult to brew some favorite styles like Vespucci and our periodic Saison ‘gnome’ series,” says Christian Layke, Co-founder, CEO, and Director of Brewing Operations at Silver Branch, and soon-to-be Director of Brewing at the merged company. “I’m very excited that we have been able to free up our barrel room again and will be able to start hosting private events again as a result.“
When we spoke to Layke in early March, he noted that Silver Branch was looking to “move toward a more permanent solution” to space constraints in Silver Spring, and they have found their match in Old Ox. Those three beers were a trial run of sorts.
Old Ox, founded in 2014, is the more established brewery, and Silver Branch will be able to take advantage of Old Ox’s state-wide distribution in Virginia. This will help both breweries negotiate with suppliers–greater purchasing power across three brewing facilities–and may foster greater experimentation. Merging these two breweries, their staffs, and their beers is going to be a process, so more on this as it develops.
The full press release:
SILVER BRANCH BREWING AND OLD OX BREWERY ANNOUNCE INTENT TO MERGE, PARTNERING TO LEVERAGE THE STRENGTHS OF EACH COMPANY
Silver Spring, MD and Ashburn, VA (April 11, 2022) – Silver Branch Brewing Company and Old Ox Brewery will join forces to create one cohesive company that combines Old Ox’s brand recognition, distribution expertise, and brewing capacity with Silver Branch’s hospitality background, marketing experience, and quickly growing portfolio of beers.
The combined company will be well positioned to take advantage of new opportunities emerging in the craft beverage industry while continuing to grow the Silver Branch and Old Ox brands. “This merger affords us some very exciting opportunities for growth,” says Chris Burns, Founder of Old Ox Brewery. “We have amazing plans in store for our tasting rooms, distribution portfolios, and new product launches. We can’t wait to share them with our customers. It’s going to be a lot of work, but it’s also going to be a lot of fun!”
Each brewery will maintain their unique identities while seeking opportunities to cross-promote and bring new beer experiences to craft beer lovers in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC. Silver Branch delivers traditional European-style beers in its Downtown Silver Spring tasting room, and Old Ox maintains a core competency in American craft styles that enjoys broad regional distribution.
“While our brewing styles are distinct, our philosophies are extremely well aligned,” says Christian Layke, Co-Founder of Silver Branch Brewing, “We both see beer as being as much about culture and the experience as it is about the liquid itself.”
“This strategic partnership will enable the combined company to achieve efficiencies, continue growing at an accelerated rate, and leverage diversified expertise,” says Brett Robison, Co-Founder of Silver Branch Brewing. “The merger will allow both breweries to continue producing their well-known beers in addition to many new innovative beers. Beer fans in Maryland, Virginia, and DC will also have more opportunities to participate in cultural celebrations and beer release parties in Silver Spring and Ashburn. This year we get to throw two Oktoberfest parties, we’re really excited about that.”
Silver Branch Co-Founder Christian Layke will be Director of Brewing with Co-Founder Brett Robison as Director of Operations. Chris Burns, Co-Founder of Old Ox, will serve as Director of Sales.
So what’s next? Time for a beer! We’re working on a celebratory collaboration project for release in May. The beer is brewed, the label is designed, the release is being planned…We’re excited! More details soon, but rest assured there will be a party!
The proposed merger is subject to final negotiation and execution of an operating agreement. The intention is to be a fully combined and integrated company by Q3 2022.
STATEMENT POSTED TO THE OLD OX WEBSITE: https://www.oldoxbrewery.com/2022/04/the-old-ox-family-is-expanding-in-a-big-way/