A Loss and a Gain for Vermont: Magic Hat departs Burlington
Aug 31, 2020 10:37PM
By Pam Hunt
An announcement on June 16, 2020, spoke of a loss—and a gain—for Vermont’s brewing scene.
The loss? One of the state’s first craft breweries, Magic Hat, is moving production of its quirky yet popular beers from South Burlington to Rochester, New York, home of its parent company, FIFCO USA. The gain? The historic former Magic Hat brewing space is now home to additional production capacity for one of Vermont’s other beloved breweries, Zero Gravity Craft Brewery.
Zero Gravity took ownership of the Bartlett Bay Road building and brewing equipment on July 1. According to Emma Shea, spokesperson for Zero Gravity, the focus of the new location will be on increasing production and packaging operations, specifically for the brewery’s big-selling brands like Green State Lager and Conehead. “We had maxed out our production space at our Pine Street facility and were beginning to explore our options,” Emma says. “This opportunity happened to come along at the perfect time, and we feel so lucky to be able to take over this facility where so much of Vermont's craft beer history was created!”
Brewing will still take place at the Pine Street location and downtown, with a look to making more specialty beers and giving brewers greater room for creating the innovative beers that have made them a go-to destination for locals and visitors alike. The new location will be for business only—no tasting room is planned to be opened for now.
Leaving a Legacy
The loss of one of state’s oldest breweries may leave some yearning for a final good-bye visit to the magical Artifactory or perhaps a last sip of locally made apricot-flavored #9 or lemongrassy Circus Boy. But by being a force behind the birth of Vermont’s craft beer industry when it was founded in 1984 by serial entrepreneur Alan Newman and brewer Bob Johnson, Magic Hat leaves a worthy legacy. It played a role in making beer tourism an important part of the state’s economy, and several of its brewers went on to launch their own well-respected brands, such as Fiddlehead and Foam. How fitting that another creative team of brewers will be in their space, creating beer that continues the tradition.
716 Pine Street