Popular craft beer brand files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

U.S. beer sales had a rollercoaster year in 2023, led by a huge drop in sales of Anheuser-Busch In-Bev’s  (BUD) – Get Free Report Bud Light product after rock star Kid Rock in April 2023 called for a boycott of the brand following the company’s partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney on a March Madness-themed social media post.

By October, Bud Light’s revenue was down 13.5% from the previous year and the beer brand lost about 26% of its sales by the end of the year.

Related: Trendy fast food chain files Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Some smaller beer brands were also suffering in 2023, which led to some of them filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy to try to stay afloat. A small Colorado brewery, Guanella Pass Brewing on Dec. 30 filed for Chapter 11 protection to reorganize its debt.

Flying Fish Brewing Co., a Pennsylvania brewery that operates in South Jersey, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late December in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey after a sale to Cape May Brewing Co. collapsed. 

San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing was one of the best known and highly regarded independent craft breweries since its founding in 1896, but things went south after Japan-based brewer Sapporo Holdings Limited purchased the company in August 2017 for $85 million.

Anchor Steam reportedly had production issues, and a January 2021 rebranding of the company from its classic red banner and blue anchor logo to a new yellow and blue one didn’t go over well. Finally, the company said that it would cease national sales in June 2023 a month before filing Chapter 11 in July 2023 and shutting down operations.

Beer sales rose in 2023

Despite all of that bad news about the beer industry, U.S. beer sales in 2023 actually rose by 1.4% compared to 2022, led by an increase in imported beer sales by $1 billion or 9.1%, data firm NIQ, which tracks sales in supermarkets, drug stores, mass-merchandise stores, convenience stores and liquor stores, reported according to NACS.

Beer sales may have ended 2023 on a high note, but things are still not looking good for smaller brewers at the start of 2024.

Zydeco Brew Werks of Ybor City on Jan. 11 filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida with plans to close its main brewery and restaurant location on 7th Avenue in Tampa, Fla., for the last time on Jan. 21.

Zydeco Brew Werks to close its main brewery

The craft brewery and restaurant on Jan. 12 said in a Facebook post that it will close its Ybor City location in Tampa after nearly six years of operations. Zydeco Brew Werks, however, said that its second location at Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry will remain open as the company’s founders Paul Rutherford and J. Paul Pepin search for a new home for its brewery, Creative Loafing Tampa Bay reported.

In addition to craft beers, Zydeco Brew Werks’ restaurant menu features New Orleans and Cajun-style food, such as a Creole Flatbread, French Quarter Fries, Gumbo, Shrimp and Grits, Blackened Shrimp, Shrimp Mac & Cheese, Cajun Brussel Sprouts, and, of course, Beignets, just to name a few items offered.

The restaurant’s menu at the Museum of Science and Industry is more limited but features items such as Bayou Hot Chicken Sammy,  Crescent City Cuban, Shrimp Po’Boy, and Tater Tot Nachos.

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