Brewery Closings Near You

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by bubseymour, Dec 30, 2019.

  1. bubseymour

    bubseymour Poo-Bah (2,905) Oct 30, 2010 Maryland
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    Debated whether to post this on the Mid-Atlantic forum, but thought this was more worthy of larger audience on Beer Talk regarding the 2019 local craft beer scene, that may have further reaching insights at the US level as craft beer is maturing in many regions/citys and towns now.

    Found these 2 articles in 2019 for my local area in Frederick County Maryland on the local craft brewing scene and recent closures. One is a new brewery that didn't last more than a year. And the other closing was from a longstanding Frederick OG brewer (one of the big 3 local craft brewers from the 1990's). One comment I found interesting was the quote from the Barley and Hops brewmaster from the April 10th article on the House Cat brewery closing " “There’s plenty of beer drinkers here and there’s plenty of room in the landscape.”...then his brew pub ends up closing just a few months later. Just kinda ironic I thought, but I'm sure there is alot of factors that play into it. Lots of nice tributes to past brewers and their impacts to our craft beer scene across our country: Enjoy!
    #1 bubseymour, Dec 30, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2019
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  2. MistaRyte

    MistaRyte Zealot (535) Jan 14, 2008 Virginia

    As far as Norfolk VA goes, Coelacanth is closing its doors today/yesterday I believe. They were open 4 years. Unsure of the reasons why... they were know for doing their own thing and not chasing trends.

    Bearded Bird closed a few months ago. Rough location, mediocre beer.
  3. Insomniac

    Insomniac Initiate (28) Nov 5, 2019

    The area of Ontario I live in is still firmly in the expansion phase, with no recent closings. More remarkably, while visiting my home province of Nova Scotia this summer, I discovered that there are now over fifty breweries in a province with less than one million residents, which means the province has approximately twice as many breweries per capita as California. Ten years ago that would have been unthinkable.
    #3 Insomniac, Dec 30, 2019
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2019
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  4. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,395) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    My wife and I were in Nova Scotia (Cape Breton and Halifax) last summer and I was pleasantly surprised at the number and quality of the craft breweries there. It is indeed a Brave New World now with the ever growing craft beer scene.

    I discussed our visit to Big Spruce Brewing (Baddeck, Cape Breton Island) in a New Beer Sunday thread:

  5. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Poo-Bah (1,942) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
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    Maybe the pushback on price is driving folks out of business, if it takes $7 to produce a 4 pack and folks want if for $6-7 then they close down. Seems like everyone now wants 90+ rated beer for a dollar a can like a budweizer.
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  6. Insomniac

    Insomniac Initiate (28) Nov 5, 2019

    Thanks, I will read that link. I was there for ten days and between sample sizes at breweries and full sizes from bars/retailers, I was able to try about seventy-five new beers from the province. Like you, I was impressed by the overall quality. From Big Spruce I had Tim’s IPA, which was very good. In addition, I scored some Cantillon from Stillwell Beer Bar in downtown Halifax. My home province is all grown up now.

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  7. Ranbot

    Ranbot Savant (913) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    I've seen a local closing here and there, but more breweries are still opening than closing. For a new brewery trying to get attention the hazy, juicy, sweet, milkshake-style IPAs with catchy artsy label is still the best path to success. I've noticed some of the brewers that been around for 5+ years are keeping up by contract brewing for the trendier hot new IPA brewers.

    Over Christmas I visited my family in Vermont and of course I went beer shopping. Despite the maturity of Vermont's beer scene there are new breweries still appearing there too, and again it's all about the hazy, juicy, sweet, milkshakey IPA with catchy labels to get people to covet your cans. It's also clear that the older brewers have to play that same game to some extent and/or are contract brewing for the trendy ones. It's all very samey and boring to me. I brought back the least amount of beer from Vermont than any other time I can remember, and it would have been less had I not promised two friends some stuff.

    That other thread going where people believe or hope that next year will be a lager revolution... yeah right... don't hold your breath. :rolling_eyes: The maturity of the beer markets in Vermont and my local Philly scene allows for some more interesting things to happen around the margins, but it's clear [or hazy? :wink:] the IPA still rules, and if a brewer plans to take a different route they better be very careful.
  8. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,395) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Yes, that would still be the conventional wisdom

    I suspect that 2020 will still be a 'strong' year for the sales of Juicy/Hazy IPAs but I would be willing to bet that soon (the next 1-2 years) these sorts of beers will hit a plateau.

    As regards the aspect of "lager revolution" my prediction is that we will see a slow and steady rise over the next 1-2 years vs. a "revolution" per se. Over the holidays I saw a new Pilsner from a brewery that I would not have readily predicted would go this route. I will be reporting on it in an upcoming New Beer Sunday thread.

  9. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (3,971) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
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    Quality needs to match price.

    Pricing can certainly vary just based on locale (cost of living, rent prices, etc.), but I can get exceptional NE IPAs at <$4.50/16oz can. With that in mind, there is no reason for me to spend more than that on a beer (locally). If a new brewer opens up, this is the standard with which they'll be compared. It's the same for any other good or service - there is a point where pricing falls behind quality, and that's where my support stops.
    jasonmason, Dan_K and AZBeerDude72 like this.
  10. Singlefinpin

    Singlefinpin Devotee (493) Jul 17, 2018 North Carolina

    In my area, Raleigh NC, I know of one brewery closing, Mystery Brewing, and quite a few openings. Beer still seems to be expanding all over NC.
    KentT and surfcaster like this.
  11. Singlefinpin

    Singlefinpin Devotee (493) Jul 17, 2018 North Carolina

    Ales are not going anywhere to be sure.
    But, it would be nice to see some Lager styles pushed a bit.

    storm72 likes this.
  12. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (3,971) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
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    We still have several breweries in the permitting process, targeting an opening date in 2020. To my knowledge, we only had one brewery close in our metro area in 2019. Coincidentally, another brewery is scheduled to open in this same space next year.

    There is certainly an increase in competition, and with that, we're seeing a little bit more 'quality' beer and more thought-out, 'cozy' taprooms. On paper, 2020 is looking strong. Only time will tell which breweries have focused on the business side enough to remain open this time next year.
  13. Ranbot

    Ranbot Savant (913) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Yeah I agree... and would entertain the possibility that the hazy/Juicy IPA plateau is already here, it's just such a massive part of the market it's hard see clearly.

    And agree on the slow and steady rise of lagers, but falling short of "revolution." I would put craft lagers in category of interesting things happening on the margins, if you look for it as you and many others on this site do, but as we've said many times here, folks on this page are not the typical beer consumer.
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  14. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,395) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Randy, you and I have a lot of lager choices since we live in the 'land of lagers' - Pennsylvania.

    Tomorrow, my wife and I will be attending the New Year's Eve event at Workhorse Brewing and I will have a lot of lager choices to drink:
    • Helles
    • Pilsner
    • Vienna Lager
    • etc
    And soon they will be pouring a Black Lager and a Baltic Porter.

    Based upon my travels the rest of America is not as well endowed as we are in terms of a vast number of craft brewed lagers to choose from. It seems to me there is a lot of 'opportunity' here. Hopefully the folks in other regions of the country can catch up to us?

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  15. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (5,525) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
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    Sioux Falls had three new brewery/taprooms open last year, and an out of state brewery opened a branch brewery/taproom here to replace a brewery/taproom that closed. It also appears that a restaurant chain with a brewery is going bankrupt, so they will probably close.

    This will leave eight breweries, plus seven non-brewery craft taprooms, plus a dozen liquor stores with growler taps - for a town of 180,000. I could be wrong, but it sure seems like Sioux Falls is pretty saturated with craft taps. I bet we see another brewery close in the next couple of years.
    Singlefinpin likes this.
  16. Coronaeus

    Coronaeus Meyvn (1,029) Apr 21, 2014 Ontario (Canada)

    I can’t think of a brewery in the greater Toronto area that closed this past year. I can think of several that should close due to lousy product.

    Five years ago I could get to every new release on the city. Now, there are some breweries that have been open for more than a year or two that I haven’t even visited yet.

    As @Insomniac mentioned, we are certainly still in the expansion phase here.
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  17. ovaltine

    ovaltine Poo-Bah (3,013) Apr 6, 2010 Indiana
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    I just finished this book .....

    The chapters about the shakeouts in the 80's and especially the 90's were very well done - and there was some BA love for @Todd and @Jason . A really good read, IMHO, especially if you love beer.

    Guilty as charged, your honor.
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  18. PittBeerGirl

    PittBeerGirl Poo-Bah (1,964) Feb 27, 2007 Ohio
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    Maybe not this year but I know of at least 3 breweries closing in my general area the past few years and several farther away opening. It's still the Miller light crowd where I live. A few local places have a handful of craft beers on tap but the idea of me having an actual good brewery or beer bar within 30 minutes of my house has become laughable.

    Sharon, PA- Brewtus Brewery
    Hermitage, PA- Stone Church
    Garrettsville OH- Main Street

    The first two were a lot closer to where I live and weren't open long. We also lost a steak house that had the best craft beer menu in the area.

    As for Garrettsville- there was a terrible fire that destroyed most businesses across the street and probably 30% of the main section of town and the brewery closed not long afterwards. Collateral damage. Really liked that place.
  19. unlikelyspiderperson

    unlikelyspiderperson Meyvn (1,249) Mar 12, 2013 California
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    The only one I can think of that closed near me was called Wildcard out of Redding, ca. They were a decent brewery that leveraged a little bit of buzz about some new school IPAs (hazy, cryo hops, brut, etc..) into aggressive expansion with a tap room in downtown Redding, a taproom in Albany, ca (couple hours away in the sf bay area) and a notable increase in packaged distribution.
    Seems like overzealous expansion is a surefire recipe for trouble
    islay likes this.
  20. Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse

    Ten_SeventySix_Brewhouse Disciple (331) Jul 20, 2016 Indiana

    Checking in from Indiana. A local Instagram page reported that there were 24 brewery openings and 14 closings in the state this year. Certainly a tumultuous year for craft beer, but it looks like the trend is still upward here.
    Singlefinpin likes this.
  21. Sabtos

    Sabtos Poo-Bah (7,779) Dec 15, 2015 Ohio
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  22. iwantyourskull

    iwantyourskull Initiate (56) Dec 27, 2015 Missouri

    Who closes in 2019? I can’t think of anyone. Rock and run?
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  23. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (3,971) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
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    I thought Rock and Run closed this year. Kansas City proper hasn't had any closings to my knowledge.
  24. Riff

    Riff Champion (860) May 12, 2016 Virginia

    Hardywood closed their pilot location in Charlottesville (main brewery remains open)
    Bedlam Brewing in Staunton closed their doors due to owner health issues
    Mad Fox Brewing in Falls Church, VA closed citing increasing competition

    I think there was at least one more I heard of but the name escapes me
  25. bluejacket74

    bluejacket74 Poo-Bah (5,061) Jul 4, 2005 Ohio

    Around here I think the only brewery closing this year was the last remaining Ram Brewery chain location in Columbus. And we've had more than enough new breweries here opening up over the past year so it's not like they're missed. More places here opening than closing, although that's probably the case in most areas.
  26. VABA

    VABA Poo-Bah (4,092) Aug 8, 2015 Virginia

    Mad Fox was the closest brewery to me, and the Orange Whip IPA was outstanding, what a shame!
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  27. iwantyourskull

    iwantyourskull Initiate (56) Dec 27, 2015 Missouri

    I thought you were from Kansa city.
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  28. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (3,971) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
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    I'd consider Liberty within the metro.
  29. MistaRyte

    MistaRyte Zealot (535) Jan 14, 2008 Virginia

    You thinking of Flying Mouse? Can't remember if that closed last year or this year.

    Also forgot Ballast Point closed their VA tasting room (but brewery remains open)
  30. VABA

    VABA Poo-Bah (4,092) Aug 8, 2015 Virginia

    That sucks as the view was great!

    I was there three times and it was always busy, I wonder why they closed it?
  31. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,395) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    @Breweries_In_PA I know from a number of your posts in BA threads you have been tracking the vast array of new breweries opening in Pennsylvania. What about brewery closings? How many PA breweries closed in 2019?

    I took note from an article posted on your blog (We Spoke With 16 PA Brewers: What Will Be The Biggest Craft Beer Trends in 2020?):

    “A lot of craft breweries will be closing…” – Sam Masotto, Co-Owner/Head Brewer, Bonn Place Brewing, Bethlehem, PA”

    Are you personally expecting that the number of PA craft breweries closing in 2020, as compared to 2019, will be a greater number?


  32. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,363) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    Makes me wonder how SN can produce great beers at a great price, all things considered of course. They’re like $3 cheaper per six than some unknown new brewery in the area.
  33. PA-Michigander

    PA-Michigander Meyvn (1,431) Nov 10, 2013 Pennsylvania

    Economies of scale on so many levels. They’re making incredibly large batches of beer. Many of which are tried and true.
  34. gopens44

    gopens44 Poo-Bah (2,318) Aug 9, 2010 Virginia
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    There was a brewery up near ladysmith (little south of Fredericksburg) called Rusty Beaver that I just noticed a few weeks ago is no longer. I'll admit that I didn't have anything of theirs and a quick glance at their ratings showed that the highest rated offering was checking in at 3.48.
  35. islay

    islay Disciple (333) Jan 6, 2008 Minnesota

    The only brewery in the Twin Cities metro area to close in 2019 was the fine 12welve Eyes Brewing Company in St. Paul, Minnesota. It closed in May after opening in summer 2017. It started out with a variety of styles, none coming in at much over 6% ABV, all of them leaning dry, with few gimmicks, and not following trends. Frankly, I think it came in above the market here, which, like most places in the country that don't have deep histories with craft beer, just wanted hazies, pastries, and juicies.

    It did end up pivoting to doing a lot of that stuff, to my chagrin, but, by that point, it was vastly overshadowed by the nearby hype factory that is Barrel Theory Beer Company, which opened around the same time. 12welve Eyes also suffered from a terrible location with very low foot traffic, little nearby street parking, an unsupportive neighborhood, and a poor happy hour and nightlife culture, yet high rent. There was also some internal bickering among the three original founders that surely didn't help.

    Overall, I continue to think that there's much additional room for small craft breweries in most parts of the country, especially in suburbs and small towns. Many large cities themselves, in contrast, feature more competition, have policies that make things difficult on small businesses, and feature high costs; I'd be very hesitant to open a brewery in St. Paul or Minneapolis proper in the early '20s.

    Yes, we will see more closures going forward, if only because there are so many more breweries in total now, but most will be due to idiosyncratic issues (mismanagement, bad locations, beer that doesn't click with the masses or capture a niche, etc.) than due to systemic issues or broad "oversaturation." I continue to think that the heavily distribution-dependent breweries, which are a small fraction of the total, are the most vulnerable to retraction, as consumers continue to value local, new, and rare, along with those that have gone all-in on being trendy and appealing to young, urban residents who are fickle in their preferences and prize inevitably fleeting hipness über alles.
  36. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,363) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    No doubt name recognition plays a part, sales volume play a part too, and there’s a national footprint. Still it bugs me when I can buy $12.99 12 packs of SN, and a non descript brewery from nowhere is $11 a six. Hard to justify imo.
    PA-Michigander likes this.
  37. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,395) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Dale, are you buying those beers?

    How about 4-packs/16 ounce cans at prices even higher than 11 bucks?

  38. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,363) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
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    Rarely do I buy these beers. I talk to the beer guy and if he gives a beer a thumbs up I might try it. That’s how I discovered Mason Jar out of Fuquay Varuna NC, all they do is lagers, a bit non traditional as well.

    The only 16 oz 4 Pks here imo that are worth the money comes from Burial, maybe WW as well. Surprisingly as well as Burials Shadowclock is received I really don’t care for it.

    I tend to pass on breweries I don’t know, if they’re not dated definitely forget it, but $11-12 is a bit pricy when fresh SN in $7.99.
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  39. MacMalt

    MacMalt Poo-Bah (3,943) Jan 28, 2015 New Jersey
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    Tomfoolery Brewing in Hammonton, NJ apparently has closed.
    hottenot likes this.
  40. lightman1

    lightman1 Initiate (88) Oct 19, 2013 Arkansas

    We lost a small local brewery last year in Little Rock. They had a few solid offerings but nothing that really stood out. The location probably contributed to their closing as much as anything.