Future Unclear for Green Flash Brewing & Alpine Beer Company

Green Flash Brewing has been a large contender in the craft beer industry and become an admired brand over the years. A few years ago, they purchased another well-respected and loved local San Diego brewery, Alpine Beer Company. We have certainly enjoyed many of their beers and events over the years! We even partnered with them on a few of our Cooking with Beer segments that we did with CW 6 San Diego back in the day! These past few months have had their fans holding their breaths as more and more big changes started to unfold; leaving the future unclear for Green Flash Brewing & Alpine Beer Company.

Changing Directions

A few months ago, they laid off some of their employees and announced they would stop distributing to the East Coast. Then, they announced that their Virginia Beach location that they just built a few years ago would be closed and sold off. A few days later they announced that their Cellar 3 Tasting Room in Poway that focused on all their barrel aged beers would be closed. Now, we are learning that their troubles also include Comerica Bank, foreclosing on their loans and selling the assets of the company (other than the Virginia Beach brewery) to WC IPA LLC through a foreclosure sale which closed on March 30, 2018.

“After a general slowdown in the craft beer industry, coupled with intense competition and a slowdown of our business, we could not service the debt that we took on to build the Virginia Beach brewery — and in early 2018, the Company defaulted on its loans with Comerica Bank. While we took substantial efforts to recapitalize the Company over the past several months, both before and after the bank default, we were ultimately unable to close a transaction. While the Green Flash and Alpine brands will continue, they will do so under new ownership — and GFBC, Inc. and Alpine Beer Company, Inc. will be wound down and dissolved.  I sincerely thank you for your support over the years.” – Mike Hinkley in his letter to Shareholders.

A New Hope? Green Flash just sent out this Press Release:

San Diego-based Green Flash Brewing Company is excited to announce the completion of the previously-announced sale of its West Coast brewing operations. The new investor group, which includes a number of individuals with extensive experience in both the craft beer and food and beverage industries, is committed to maintaining Green Flash’s status as an iconic independent craft-brewing interest. With this new financial backing and focus, Green Flash will return to its Southern California roots, while consolidating distribution of its beers and those of sister-brand Alpine Beer Company to San Diego County and the greater Southwest.

Green Flash Brewing Company emerges from the sale with a stabilized financial position and streamlined operations. Green Flash has ceased operations at its production brewery in Virginia Beach, Va., its barrel-aging facility in Poway, Ca., and completed its transition from national to regional distribution. The company will focus on brewing exceptional beer, connecting with customers, and building the brands in the core markets of California, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Texas, Utah, and Nebraska.

The Green Flash and Alpine breweries will continue to operate in San Diego and Alpine, respectively. Meanwhile, the Green Flash Brewhouse & Eatery in Lincoln, Neb. will open in April, and will brew specialty beers serving the state of Nebraska. This brewery will serve as the model for future customer connection points in the Southwestern United States.

Green Flash Brewing Company is also announcing some changes to the management team, led by the announcement of Dave Mills as new Vice President of Sales and Business Development. Dave, who previously served as Chief Sales Officer at Ballast Point Brewing Company, will manage all sales and trade marketing activities.

Dave said, “I am stoked to join the Green Flash team in my hometown of San Diego. The Green Flash and Alpine brands are iconic in San Diego beer culture. This opportunity is the dream of a lifetime and I can’t wait to begin my new adventure.”

Dave will replace Jim Kenny, who served as VP of Sales for the last eight years. Jim leaves a legacy, as he spearheaded growth for Green Flash from 14,000 to over 90,000 barrels per year at its peak. “Jim’s Hungwah-spirit and GSD work ethic pushed us to great heights,” says Hinkley, who added, “I wish Jim all the best and I know he will find a great position in the beer business.”

Mike Hinkley, who started Green Flash 16 years ago, will lead the company. Chris Ross, President, will leave the company. Chris was appointed President in late 2016 and did an outstanding job guiding the company through some difficult times over the past two years.

“Chris helped reshape the company, making this transaction possible. We are all very grateful to him for all of his efforts,” said Hinkley.

Other key management roles include Erik Jensen – Vice President of Brewing Operations, Dave Adams – Vice President of Hospitality, Nicole Hanlon – Director of Human Resources, and Katie Wolbrink – Controller.

The investor group was represented by Livingstone Partners, an international middle market M&A firm with seven offices located in the United States, Europe and Asia.

We are sending positive thoughts to our friends at Green Flash Brewing & Alpine Brewing during these trying times! Let’s hope this is the end of bad news for them. We hope that these changes bring a new beginning and that your fans will not end up losing the beers that they have come to love over the years!




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