Skip to main content

Another fan-favorite craft beer is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Fan favorite breweries files for bankruptcy

Guanella Pass Brewing
Guanella Pass Brewing

If you haven’t paid much attention to the American beer landscape in the last few decades, you might have missed a massive boom. In 1994, there were only 500 or so breweries in the whole country. Today, there’s more than 9,000. But with that many breweries operating, how many can be financially viable in the long term? With all that saturation (pun intended), we’re beginning to see a glut of closings and bankruptcies.

Don’t believe us? Simply search “brewery bankruptcy” and you’ll be met with many stories about large and small breweries closing their doors, filing for bankruptcy, or being sold outright to big brands (that may or may not want to cease production).

Beer
BENCE BOROS/Unsplash

Is the craft beer bubble set to burst?

The most high-profile closing was San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing. Owner Sapporo decided to shutter its production in July because of a rapid decline in sales over the last few years. But other breweries have filed for bankruptcy in the past few months, including Chicago’s Metropolitan Brewing, New Jersey’s Flying Fish, Denver’s Joyride Brewing, Tampa’s Zydeco Brew Werks, and Cleveland’s Terrestrial Brewing. The most recent fan-favorite brewery to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy is Georgetown, Colorado’s Guanella Pass Brewing.

Well-known for beers like Bernese Mountain, a 5.5% ABV brown ale, this mountain brewery was the first brewery to open in Georgetown since prohibition when it opened its doors in 2017. It’s owned by sixteen different beer lovers, including Steven and Stacey Skalski.

However, financial hardships have led the popular brewery to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on December 30th. By financial hardship, we don’t mean the brewery owes a little bit of money. It’s $2.3 million in debt. On the flip side, the brewery only racked in $860,000 in gross revenue last year.

Beer
Gerrie van der Walt/Unsplash

Is the brewery closing?

Unlike Anchor, this doesn’t mean Guanella Pass is closing its doors for good. At least at its original location. While it closed its Empire Brewery location in the fall, the bankruptcy is being used as a way to reorganize the company and focus solely on the original location. It will remain operational.

With the sheer number of breweries spread out across the country, the decline in sales during the pandemic, and drinkers turning to other forms of alcohol (whiskey, hard seltzer, and others), and people just deciding not to drink enough, there’s a pretty good chance these closings and bankruptcies are just the beginning.

There’s no way 9,000-plus breweries are making such high-quality beer and bringing in enough money to stay afloat in the long run. Is the brewing bubble primed to burst? It feels that way.

The best way to end this tide of bankruptcies? Visit your local breweries often. Buy pints, and growlers, and eat dinner if they serve food. Just patronize them.

Christopher Osburn
Christopher Osburn is a food and drinks writer located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. He's been writing professional
10 classic summer cocktails everyone should know how to make
Enjoy your summer with these incredible, classic drinks
Gin cocktail

We are right at the cusp of summer. It's the season of backyard campfires, yard games, dangling your feet off a dock, and seemingly endless sunny days. It's a great time of year for refreshing, crisp beer. But it's also the perfect time for classic summer cocktails. Lucky for you, there are many to choose from. And while we love a rich, complex, boozy Old Fashioned or Manhattan any time of year, in the summer, we tend to opt for thirst-quenching, fresh cocktails.
Classic summer drink recipes

The best part? These iconic, refreshing summer drinks are all reasonably easy to whip up. You don't need an advanced degree in mixology and a whole cabinet of tinctures, herbs, and other ingredients to make them. Most of them are only a few ingredients and the ones with more are still fairly easy to shake up. These are the summery drinks that everyone should know how to make. Keep scrolling to see them all and learn a few new recipes to wow your friends and family this summer.
Margarita

Read more
6 essential Scotch cocktails that you need to know
If Scotch is your thing, then you need to put these on your home bar list
Rusty Nail cocktail

Scotch whisky isn't called the water of life for nothing -- it's a divine spirit that works on so many levels. It brightens the days of the sad, and it calms the nerve-wracked masses. It's always there for you. You can drink it neat, on the rocks, or with a few drops of water — however you choose, it's a wonderful liquor.

We will admit that there are times when we want to enjoy Scotch whisky in a cocktail. We're not saying use that bottle of Macallan 50 Years Old to mix up a drink, but if you've got a nice mid-shelf whisky, you can occasionally step outside your comfort zone and mix up a Scotch whisky cocktail to drink any time of the day.

Read more
The rich history of tequila: Paying homage to nature and culture
Painting depicting the history of the tequila making process in the historic town of tequila in Jalisco State Mexico

Tequila has been growing in popularity since the early 2000s, and it seems there's no sign of it slowing down. After all, tequila is among the most widely consumed liquors on the planet. But what is it exactly?

Tequila is a fermented drink made only from the blue agave plant. It is similar to pulque, the precursor to tequila and mezcal. Pulque is also made from the agave plant and has a milky white viscous appearance. Another agave plant product is mezcal but its production involves dozens of varieties of agave plants.

Read more