Green Flash Brewery sells West Coast operations in foreclosure

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Green Flash Brewery has been sold to a new investment group, continuing a turbulent start to the year for the San Diego-based brewery.

The company announced Monday the finalized sale to the group made up of "individuals with extensive experience" in craft beer and food and beverage industries.

In a letter to shareholders published on The Full Pint, CEO Mike Hinkley said the company's lender, Comerica Bank, had "foreclosed on its loans and sold the assets of the company ... to WC IPA LLC."

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Green Flash had reportedly taken on a loan for the development of a Virginia Beach, Va., brewery, which has also closed.

"As such, the Company no longer owns the Green Flash and Alpine businesses. Comerica Bank is currently conducting a separate process to sell the Virginia Beach brewery," the letter continued.

The Virginia brewery closing followed that of Green Flash's Poway barrel-aging facility, Cellar 3, also closing this year. The brewery's plans for a brewhouse in Lincoln, Neb., in April have not been changed.

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From a local standpoint, Hinkley told 10News, "the entities behind the scene are different, the businesses up front are exactly the same."

Green Flash said it will focus on shipping its beers to customers in California, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Texas, Utah, and Nebraska. The Green Flash and Alpine Beer Company brands, the latter of which was picked up by Green Flash in 2014, will continue.

"The Green Flash and Alpine breweries will continue to operate in San Diego and Alpine, respectively," a release by the brewery said.

In the letter, Hinkley blamed a "general slowdown" in the craft beer industry and increased competition as causes of the sell-off. Earlier this year, the brewery cut its workforce by 15 percent but Hinkley told 10News the remaining 150 or so employees "will retain their jobs" in the wake of the sale.

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The brewery is bringing in new executive management, including Dave Mills, who most recently served as chief sales officer at Ballast Point Brewing Company. 

Hinkley says he no longer has an ownership stake in the company but will still lead the brewery following the sale, as former company president Chris Ross departs.

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