Four craft breweries have shuttered in less than two weeks, the most well-known of which, Rubicon Brewing Company, had operated in Sacramento for nearly 30 years.
In an August 7 Facebook post, Rubicon owner Glynn Phillips said the Sacramento-based brewery and taproom would permanently close on August 18. He added that food service at Rubicon’s midtown brewpub has already ceased but that beer service would continue through the end of the month “or until we run out [of beer].”
“It is with a heavy heart that I share that Rubicon Brewing Company will be closing its doors this month,” Phillips wrote. “For nearly 30 years, you all have been part of the Rubicon family, an amazing, dedicated group of beer lovers who made our pub a home away from home.”
In an interview with the Sacramento Bee, Phillips said the business was challenged by declining “cash flow” as a result of increased competition.
“I think the [wet] winter hurt us, and the competition in midtown and the extensive opening of breweries throughout Sacramento has been a challenge for us,” he told the outlet. “Years ago, when you wanted to get a craft beer, and you lived in Auburn, you would come to the Rubicon. And now there are five or six world-class breweries in Auburn.”
Phillips acquired Rubicon in 2005 from the brewery’s founder, Ed Brown, who opened the business in November 1987.
“When I bought this place in 2005 there were five breweries in town,” Phillips told told Fox Channel 40. “Now I think we counted on the back of a coaster, our fingers and toes, and everybody that’s trying open and that, and it’s close to 80. It’s a very competitive market these days and we really gave it a try to supply everyone with as much Monkey Knife Fight and Rubicon IPA as we possibly could, and it just didn’t pan out.”
Four years ago, Rubicon added a tasting room and production brewery at 855 Stillwater Road in West Sacramento.
Sales of company’s beer grew in each of the last three years, including an 8 percent increase last year, to 4,800 barrels, according to an estimate from industry trade organization the Brewers Association (BA).
Meanwhile, American River Brewing, which opened in Rancho Cordova in 2012, about 15 miles east of Rubicon, ceased brewing operations and shuttered its taproom earlier this week, according to the Sacramento Bee.
“We wish to thank our customers, our fans, our loyal guests, for the years of service and support,” a recorded message playing on the brewery’s answering machine said. “We hope that we will one day be operational again, and we will see you once again.”
American River sales declined 2 percent last year, to 1,295 barrels, according to the BA.
Also this week, Cincinnati-based Blank Slate Brewing abruptly closed.
A message on the company’s website reads: “Closed. Thanks for the memories.”
Blank Slate, which opened in July 2012 and had grown production each year since then, increased sales by 42 percent, to 1,103 barrels, in 2016.
Finally, North Carolina’s Tipping Point Brewery closed its downtown Waynesville brewpub at the end of July.
Despite closing one brewery, owner Jon Bowman told the Smoky Mountain News that he plans to open a smaller operation — without a restaurant component — in nearby Brevard in early October.
“I’m an avid [mountain biker] who doesn’t get to cycle,” Bowman told the outlet. “I’m making a lifestyle change, and getting out of the restaurant business. [My] passion is the beer. About three months ago, we found a spot I could not turn down [and] I signed the lease two months ago.”
Tipping Point’s Waynesville location is listed for sale as a “turnkey” operation on the website CraftBrewweryForSale.com. The listing price is $199,000. Included in the sale are the building (with a two-bedroom apartment), a fully equipped kitchen and three walk-in coolers. The listing noted that Tipping Point’s annual gross sales were $1 million.
Tipping Point sold 400 barrels of beer last year, according to the listing.