One of Loudoun’s largest and most popular breweries is branching out—reaching across state lines to merge with Silver Branch Brewing Company of Silver Spring, MD.
Each brewery, they promise, will maintain their own well-loved identities while also gaining complementary know-how from the other. It also is a chance for two well-known faces in the Loudoun brewing scene, Graham and Mary Ann Burns, to step back for a well-earned retirement. They opened Old Ox in 2014 with their son, Chris Burns, who said their retirement always has been in the plan for Old Ox.
“We’ve always known that we had to make a really great exit strategy into our planning, and this merger affords us that opportunity to start moving them towards that retirement phase, but at the same time be able to absorb the skillsets that we’re going to be trying to replace,” Chris Burns said.
But Silver Branch will also bring in new expertise that could benefit visitors to the Old Ox tasting rooms in Ashburn and Middleburg, as well as some new limited releases from Old Ox.
“As we started going through this process, we were looking for a partner that was both complimentary and distinct,” Burns said. “So what I meant by that is, Old Ox Brewery is a production-focused brewery, a distribution-focused brewery, and Silver Branch is a tasting room-focused brewery. And while Old Ox is known for more American-style beers, Silver Branch is known for more continental European-style beers, and we think it’s really important that while we have similar philosophies on the brewing world, we execute kind of distinctly.”
The April 11 announcement said the merger 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.
“While our brewing styles are distinct, our philosophies are extremely well aligned,” stated Silver Branch Brewing co-founder Christian Layke. “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,” stated Silver Branch Brewing co-founder Brett Robison. “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.”
The proposed merger is subject to final negotiations, with the intention to be a fully combined and integrated company by Q3 2022. Layke will be director of brewing, Robison will be director of operations, and Chris Burns will serve as director of sales.