Iconic Offshore Ale Restaurant Brewery On Martha’s Vineyard Is For Sale Again – Here’s The Story Behind The Move

by Guinevere Cramer on April 10, 2017

in Changes On The Vineyard, Dining & Food, Made On The Vineyard

This is an interesting story for me to write. I have worked at Offshore Ale since 2005, which dates back to even before Phil and Colleen McAndrews bought it. So much has changed with them becoming owners, and I think they are part of the reason I have been committed for so long.

Martha's Vineyard Restaurant Brewery Offshore Ale Oak Bluffs For Sale

The staff has known since October that the restaurant/brewery was for sale, but we kept it to ourselves for a number of months, as the process began to find a buyer that can continue the Offshore Ale we know and love, and add their own spin just as Phil and Colleen did back in 2006.

It is a successful, year-round business, and once it became public last week, having been placed on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), everyone knew. And there was no shortage of odd ideas as to why it is being sold.

Why Offshore Is For Sale

I am here to tell you. This is from Phil McAndrews himself: “The motivation to put Offshore Ale on the market is based on family reasons. All of our children are older now and are moving off the island. Our youngest graduates high school in 2018 and at that point they will all be off island. None of our children are interested in taking over the business, and Colleen and I need to find a successor to carry the “Offshore torch” into the future.”

“We are not in a hurry to sell, but we need to start the process,” said Phil. “In October 2016 we gathered our staff together and announced that we were going to begin the process of finding a buyer that would hopefully be a good fit to take the reins and continue all the things that our customers and employees alike love about the Offshore Ale Company. Potentially even make it better. Over the winter we met with several interested parties regarding the potential sale, including some interested employees, and now we are taking the offering to the next level of public visibility.” 

The bar at Offshore Ale Martha's Vineyard Restaurant Oak Bluffs

It is important to get their message out, and for people to understand the reasoning behind it, not that there needs to be one. However, patrons have such loyalty to this amazing place. It has been the gathering spot for so many families and friends for years. It is a part of so many Summer residents and visitors Vineyard experience, and people don’t want to lose it. Change is hard on this special island.

The McAndrews’ Offshore Ale

What made the McAndrews’ buy Offshore Ale in the first place? Phil was a salesman for 15 years selling beer, wine, and spirits to restaurants in his home state of New Jersey and then in Rhode Island. There was one place in particular that really resonated with him and Offshore struck him as such a special and unique place. On a romantic weekend getaway to never before visited Marthas Vineyard, Phil fell in love with the island and soon discovered that Bob Skydell had put Offshore on the market. Phil felt very strongly that he had to take the opportunity to buy it and, within 4 months, he moved his family to Martha’s Vineyard. An added bonus is Martha’s Vineyard would also be a wonderful place to raise their four kids.

Offshore ALeIf you’ve met Phil, you know he is passionate about Offshore Ale. He is there in some capacity seven days a week. The businesses (beer and restaurant) are not only successful but sizable too. There is always something to do, and some adventure to make sure there is never a dull moment. Colleen is also a big part of the team, managing so much, including the (dynamic) front of house team.

Part of the joy of owning Offshore Ale for Phil and Colleen is that they enjoy “stewarding Offshore as it is such a beloved place to so many islanders and visitors alike. Walking through the dining room and watching guests enjoying good times, good food, and good beer is pretty cool.”

Offshore Ale Dining Room Martha's Vineyard Brew Pub Restaurant Oak Bluffs For Sale

How true. When they are there, people are so happy to see them, and interact and feel like a part of the Offshore family.

Speaking of Family, not only do Phil and Colleen work at Offshore but also, their kids have been part of the process. For them, it truly is a family business, and it offered a great chance for instilling a good work ethic of the past 12 years. Also, Phil added: “Luckily Colleen and I still talk to each other after 12 years of running Offshore!” 

OffshoreI can only imagine their conversations some days……. But seriously, you can usually find them laughing a bit when we’re there. Phil enjoying a beer and her a glass of one of the carefully selected red wines. After all, Phil was a wine rep and loves his wines too.

When I asked Phil what he would miss the most, he said all of it. The successes, the struggles, the staff, the customers, the Offshore family, but he will NOT miss the all the paperwork. I’ve been in the office, and there is a lot to deal with. My head spins when I try to even think about it all.

Offshore AleOf course I had to ask Phil what his favorites are regarding beer and food. For beer, his all time favorite beer is the Menemsha Creek Pale Ale which is an American pale ale with a note of bright hops and yet well balanced with malt. He also really likes the Islander Double IPA, one of my favorites too, a double IPA with a lovely hop bitterness and a sweet note of citrus.

For food, it’s Offshore’s good ole Fish & Chips, and I can see why. Offshore Ale’s Fish & Chips are the best on the Island to me. The beer in the batter makes it so good, and the fish is never soggy or bland. This is a must for anyone to try.

Fish & Chips There are so many things to be proud of over the years Phil and Colleen owned Offshore. A couple that he is particularly proud of including their success of adjusting the menu/specials to be relevant with some dining trends, while maintaining consistency of people’s menu favorites. Also, Phil is incredibly excited to be packaging a number of favorite Offshore beer ON SITE, in 16 oz cans!

So much of yourself goes into owning a business, and I imagine it will forever be some of the best years the McAndrews family will have, and some of the most challenging but rewarding. However, I think it’s wonderful that Phil and Colleen are ready for the next chapter of their lives together, empty nesters to add. They want the flexibility to go visit their kids, wherever they are living or going to college, beginning their next chapters too.

Author’s Note: I asked Phil if there was anything that he would love to have Offshore accomplish in the future? His response: “Get that Offshore beer out to the rest of America”! I like that goal! I feel as though Offshore does have some of the best beer in the world.

Offshore staffAs the next months, years go by with Offshore for sale, there is no reason to worry. Offshore will continue to be the place so many know and love. Though a number of us are sad to see this chapter closing, we know the future is bright for everyone (this picture is from our last staff party).

Thanks for reading the On Point Blog. You can learn more about Offshore Ale on its Facebook page. Don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, Linked In, Google+, Pinterest and YouTube.

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