New York company buying Flying Dog Brewery, will cease brewing in Frederick

·3 min read

May 22—Frederick's Flying Dog Brewery is being sold to a New York company whose brands include Saranac and Utica Club, the companies announced Monday. The financial terms were not disclosed.

The new owner, Utica-based FX Matt Brewing Co., was founded in 1888 and is the fourth-oldest family brewery in the United States, Flying Dog said in a news release.

Flying Dog, the 35th-largest craft brewery in the U.S., was founded in 1990 in Colorado. It acquired Frederick Brewing Co. in 2006 and began producing Flying Dog in Frederick.

Under the purchase agreement, Flying Dog will shift all of its production to FX Matt during the summer and probably stop producing locally in August, the news release said.

Flying Dog hopes to open a taproom and "innovation brewery" in Frederick.

Flying Dog Chief Marketing Officer Ben Savage will be the president of the Flying Dog division at FX Matt.

FX Matt Brewing Co. has been brewing many of Flying Dog's beers by contract over the last 10 years because of limitations at Flying Dog's Frederick brewery, according to the news release.

"It is important to me that FX Matt Brewing is offering employment to as many employees as possible and we will provide job placement assistance to team members," Flying Dog CEO Jim Caruso said in the news release. "Frederick is a great place to live and do business. Unfortunately, even though we have invested millions of dollars in the brewery, it has too many limitations and puts Flying Dog at too great a competitive disadvantage."

"Flying Dog has created an amazing brand, award-winning beers, and offers us a great opportunity to grow in the Mid-Atlantic Region," Fred Matt, the CEO of FX Matt, said in the news release.

In an emailed statement to the News-Post on Monday, Lara L. Fritts, the executive director of economic and workforce development for Frederick County, wrote: "Flying Dog has grown here in Frederick County which has resulted in its acquisition by a larger brewery. While we are disappointed in the decision to close local operations, we understand the business case for consolidating operations with the new ownership. Frederick County Office of Economic Development is grateful that Flying Dog will keep a presence by investing in the County with a tap room and innovative brewhouse.

Flying Dog has been known for its free speech advocacy, winning a six-year lawsuit against the Michigan Liquor Control Commission after it denied Flying Dog's "Raging Bitch" beer on decency grounds.

The Michigan commission had ruled that the Raging Bitch label was "detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of the general public."

Flying Dog also won a similar case last year against the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Commission, which denied Flying Dog's "Freezin' Season" label, describing a cartoon character as being in "bad taste."

Flying Dog launched a local First Amendment Society with speakers and other activities.

Staff writer Ryan Marshall contributed to this story.