Weyerbacher Sells Majority Stake to Private Investment Group, Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Discussion in 'Beer News & Releases' started by jesskidden, Apr 22, 2019.

  1. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,746) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    BREWBOUND - Weyerbacher Sells Majority Stake to Private Investment Group, Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

    * :rolling_eyes:

    IIRC, mentioned a few times in the current "Breweries that have lost their way/identity" thread...
    #1 jesskidden, Apr 22, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
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  2. MNAle

    MNAle Meyvn (1,424) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    But, at least they're still "Independent"!
    wspscott and sharpski like this.
  3. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,946) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    I previously discussed this in the Southeastern PA thread:

    It seems like a fundamental issue was Weyerbacher’s debt load:

    “The company is positioned for growth but has been hampered by debt that the company has been holding for a long time,” Lampe said.’

    Apparently there were in such dire financial straits that they had to restrict production last year because they did not have sufficient funds to purchase ingredients:

    “Last year, Weyerbacher produced about 11,000 barrels, Lampe said, adding that the company could have produced around 16,000 barrels if it had the cash flow available to purchase all of raw materials.”

    It seems that they have a multifaceted approach to becoming more solvent in the future:

    1. Contract brewing: “In the meantime, Weyerbacher will begin offering contract production for other Pennsylvania craft breweries — including Emmaus-based Funk Brewing — in order to fill excess capacity. Lampe said Weyerbacher has about 10,000 barrels of its 30,000-barrel capacity available for contract production.”

    2. Increased sales from tap rooms: “Part of Weyerbacher’s turnaround strategy includes the addition of new taprooms. The company currently operates taprooms in Easton and New Hope, and is eyeing new locations that could be announced in the coming months.”

    I wish the ‘new’ Weyerbacher the best of luck in the future. If they are successful in attracting breweries to utilize them as a contract brewery and they have robust sales at multiple tap rooms they could/should be a viable brewery going forward.


    P.S. And hopefully produce SMS next year at prices comparable to past year prices.
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  4. rudiecantfail

    rudiecantfail Zealot (560) Aug 9, 2011 Pennsylvania

    Sad news. Weyerbacher was part of my Southeast PA troika. Them, Victory & Troegs have given me a lot of good beer. I hope they work out a way to stay alive.
    skiking70, Lucular, Janeinma and 11 others like this.
  5. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,946) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Hmm, I read this as good news. Weyerbacher has not been performing well of late and there had been some rumors they might go out of business. With this infusion of money from a Private Investment Group, restructuring of debt, and a 'new' business plan going forward I am hopeful they can stay in business.

  6. Ranbot

    Ranbot Champion (855) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    When I read that statement in the article and thought... Sure, they could produce more beer, but could they sell more? I see a lot of Weyerbacher beer sitting on shelves gathering dust, and I don't understand how more beer helps that situation.

    Agreed. The investor must believe Weyerbacher can be turned around. I would also think it's better to go into bankruptcy with an investor, than a bank auction of all your assets hoping for an angel to save you.

    Best of luck to Weyerbacher. I have been a fan of Weyerbacher since I started drinking craft beer and I want to them to continue.

    If I see any Insanity left next time I'm shopping for beer I'll probably stock up, just in case things don't go as planned. I'd hate to lose that beer.
    Roguer, cavedave, Ozzylizard and 4 others like this.
  7. ChrisMon02

    ChrisMon02 Champion (890) May 2, 2010 Ohio

    I haven’t purchased anything from them in a long time. Most of their stuff ends up as shelf turds in my area.

    Most average beer does...
  8. maximum12

    maximum12 Poo-Bah (4,037) Jan 21, 2008 Minnesota

    Too bad. Weyerbacher fueled my early trading beer 10+ years ago with their magnificent anniversary beers, the sadly missed Double Simcoe, Insanity, on & on. They pulled out of MN quite a while ago, which was too bad, but their beers still show up sporadically across the border in WI from time to time.

    I hope Weyerbacher regains its footing. It's been on a short list of breweries I'd like to visit for years.
  9. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (2,723) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Society Trader

    Interesting - Funk has been contract brewing in Chicago for a while - moving their base closer to home is probably a good move for them.
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  10. Giantspace

    Giantspace Crusader (700) Dec 22, 2011 Pennsylvania

    So the bird that told me this a few weeks back was correct. I now know where I can get reliable info.

    I was a huge fan back in the beginning. There were many bottling issues and I was given more than one case of beer to bake up for the quality issues going on back in 1996. I stuck with them as I had family in Easton and I truly did like the beer. As time went on Weyerbacher became less and less relavant and did not seem they wanted to change.

    Besides Simcoe they never had a good IPA.

    Maybe they needed to be more in the IPA game.

    The last time I bought anything was SMS and that was two years ago. Most of their beers had become dusty old relics.

    I hope Weyerbacher can sustain and grow. If they take all they learned over the last 20+ years maybe they can.

    They will need new beers that are relevant in the world and will need to keep changing.

    Did they really need to redo the labels twice? Possibly they should have done it right the first time.

    That creepy fucking pedophile Merry Monk was one of the worst labels ever.

    If they had no $ to brew more beer did they really need to open pubs?

    Good luck my old friend

  11. waltari

    waltari Initiate (65) Jan 28, 2016 Georgia

    No wonder they didn't release SMS this year. Very bad news indeed.
    micada likes this.
  12. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (921) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I wish them well. Dan was always one of the really nice guys in the business. They forged the way on wood treated dark beers.
    Ranbot, surfcaster and Bitterbill like this.
  13. dwoolley1

    dwoolley1 Devotee (410) Dec 16, 2009 New York

    Sorry to hear this.
  14. RobHB

    RobHB Initiate (77) Aug 20, 2017 New Jersey

    I think Jack Horzempa is spot on, this could be good news. I'd love to see a revitalized Weyerbacher reemerge. They were a foundational craft brewery for many people in the Northeast. I had several bets with past co-workers with the stakes being a 4 or 6 pack of Weyerbacher. Of course one of those co-workers lived very close to Weyerbacher.
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  15. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,768) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    Didn’t know they were in New Hope, that’s always a day for my wife and I. There’s another brewery, is it a Triumph? Never been there, or Vault in Yardley.
  16. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,746) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Yeah, thought the same thing when I read that. Apparent only opened this year?
    Weyerbacher Announces Tap Room In New Hope, Pennsylvania
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  17. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,361) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    Bummer. If they are re-evaluating their 23-state distribution network, South Dakota won't fare well since we surely have the lowest distribution unless Wyoming and North Dakota are on the list. We haven't even had it long enough to make it onto their distribution map.
  18. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,946) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    Yup. IMO they brew very good beer there and I very much enjoy the food as well.
    I have yet to visit Vault.

    Dale, the number of new small, local breweries in the Philly area are just 'exploding' in 2018 and this year (2019) as well. I must confess I am not doing a great job keeping up. I live in King of Prussia and at least I have visited (twice) the recently opened Workhorse and once the new production brewery of Conshohocken Brewing Co. Both of those breweries are making high quality beers. A wealth of riches in this area.

  19. jimboothdesigns

    jimboothdesigns Aspirant (264) Nov 1, 2014 Pennsylvania

    The article says “Over the years, however, the company dealt with increased competition — particularly in the pumpkin beer category — as it struggled to grow sales and pay down debt“.

    Guess you shouldn’t put all your eggs into one gourd.
  20. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,746) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Live by the squash, die by the squash.
  21. ericwo

    ericwo Initiate (89) Aug 21, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Heresy, their barrel-aged imperial stout, was a favorite of mine many years ago, and the beer that I used to convince many non-craft drinkers that there were more stouts out there than just Guinness.
    jgido759 likes this.
  22. Ozzylizard

    Ozzylizard Poo-Bah (3,500) Oct 5, 2013 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

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  23. beernuts

    beernuts Disciple (333) Jan 23, 2014 Virginia

    People of New Hope, get ready for 4-packs of 16 oz hazy DIPA cans.
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  24. tobelerone

    tobelerone Poo-Bah (2,625) Dec 1, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    Hope they are able to survive this and right the ship but obviously that remains to be seen. I have a lot of mixed feelings about Weyerbacher.

    I only visited the Easton brewery once a number of years ago and my impression wasn’t super favorable although that may have been more about the people hanging out that day than anything else. But it certainly wasn’t warm and inviting or aesthetically pleasing. Many production brewery taprooms aren’t of course.

    Never liked any of their hoppy beers except maybe double simcoe. Insanity was and is a favorite of mine, and I thought Tiny was really nice. Definitely feel like they’ve excelled on the dark and malty side of things.
  25. MNAle

    MNAle Meyvn (1,424) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    Or... Live by the gourd, die by the gourd. :sunglasses:
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  26. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Champion (882) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey

    Weyerbacher brewed a number of real nice beers. It was very easy to find until 3/4 years ago before most of the retailers I shop at dropped it and replaced it with other beers.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  27. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,746) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey

    Yeah, I know :grimacing: --- didn't want to re-use @jimboothdesigns "gourd" term despite the obvious rhyme - but regretted it as soon as my 15 minutes of "EDIT" ended!
  28. surfcaster

    surfcaster Crusader (799) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Hate it for Weyerbacher.

  29. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,768) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    Double Simcoe I thought was cat pissy. Simcoe done right is terrific, but it’s a hop that can cause problems. I hate Pumpkin beers, and judging by the inventory on the floor in season do most people. The local retailers drastically cut down their orders after getting hammered with beers that don’t move.
    dennis3951 likes this.
  30. Ozzylizard

    Ozzylizard Poo-Bah (3,500) Oct 5, 2013 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    FWIW, whenever I go into the taproom at Easton, I always just buy beer and leave - the vibe is like Charlie Daniel's "Uneasy Rider" - "You ain't from around here, are ya boy" - so for me, at least, taprooms are not gonna help Weyerbacher. As long as they don't degrade (or cease production of) Insanity, they will have at least one beer I'll consistently buy. When they ceased production of Old Heathen/Heresy, they lost the majority of my business.
    tobelerone, sulldaddy and jgido759 like this.
  31. onthebusin03

    onthebusin03 Initiate (139) Jan 11, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Not trying to say that wasn't your experience, but every experience I have had (likely not as many as you as I've only been there 5-8 times) has been some degree of positive. I've been there with larger groups of people but also by myself a few times and have spoken to some people at the bar from near and far. All good times. I haven't been to any of their other spots, because honestly I didn't know they existed.

    I hope they can find a path forward that makes sense and keeps them going long into the future.
    Junior likes this.
  32. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,266) Feb 15, 2010 New York
    Society Trader

    Snippets from the article:
    Expansion, market saturation, and banking on beer trends got them into their situation... and their plan for reversing their situation is taproom expansion and expanding their can lineup. I wish them luck, and they need to do what they need to do, but you gotta wonder.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  33. Brenden

    Brenden Poo-Bah (3,845) Feb 25, 2008 Ohio
    Society Trader

    It would really be a shame if Weyerbacher was forced to brew a hazy NEIPA just to survive. I'm all for it if they want to, and maybe it's smart business, but I hate it. Insanity is crazy good, and I'll admit I have bought any in a while just because there's so damn much beer to try. It really is a tough market, so I'm hoping they figure it out, but the problem does seem to be with money spent on things that weren't making the revenue to justify them.
  34. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Zealot (526) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    The expected growth disease is strong, and they really misread the tea-leaves. And badly.
    What were the sales really like if there was that kind of a problem with cash flow?
    Playing catch up in the tap room extension of their brand might not be the wisest idea either now that a saturation point is close.
    Bitterbill likes this.
  35. SunDevilBeer

    SunDevilBeer Defender (622) May 9, 2003 Massachusetts

    But I'll always have "fond" memories of $8 stale Double Simcoe bombers everywhere I went (circa 2005 - 2010).
    HermitDan likes this.
  36. drtth

    drtth Poo-Bah (3,820) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    You sure it was Double Simcoe? They didn't introduce the 750ml unfltered version until 2011 and before that all I ever remember seeing around here or on a visit to the brewery were the 12 oz bottles.
  37. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (921) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    I don't have the exact time-line in front of me, but the regular Double Simcoe was on the market well before the smaller packages and the .750.
    drtth likes this.
  38. SunDevilBeer

    SunDevilBeer Defender (622) May 9, 2003 Massachusetts

    Yeah my timing could be off, but those 750 ml bottles (correct, not bombers) were freaking everywhere, even my local Costco. I like Simcoe beers, but each time I splurged I got either a gusher or a ton of that cat piss taste. Then towards the end they just took up shelf space and gathered dust.

    On another note, it speaks volumes that Shipyard kicked their ass in the pumpkin category. Eesh.
    HermitDan and drtth like this.
  39. southdenverhoo

    southdenverhoo Disciple (367) Aug 13, 2004 Colorado

    Yeah we don’t get it out here so one trip back to Virginia (where I’m from) I picked up a sixer at the Whole Foods closest to Dulles and was quite disappointed. Only finished 3 of the 6 over the week....

    I may have gotten an old or mis-handled six pack, don’t know, but it was harshly bitter and indeed cat-pissy to my admittedly subjective palate. I love several beers where Simcoe is prominently featured so it’s not just that I don’t like the hop.
  40. Prince_Casual

    Prince_Casual Disciple (310) Nov 3, 2012 District of Columbia

    Maybe they can't afford to pay the tech guy to update the distribution map. Ouch.
    bbtkd likes this.