Press Clips: Alpine Founder Takes Over Former Taproom Space for New Project; Deep Ellum’s Fort Worth Taproom Closes

Pat and Shawn McIlhenney to Open Brewery in Former Alpine Beer Space

Pat McIlhenney, who founded Alpine Beer with his wife, Val, in 1999, is taking over the brewery and taproom space in San Diego with a new company, McIlhenney Brewing, formed with his son, Shawn, the former brewmaster of Alpine who was laid off by the company earlier this year, according to the San Diego Beer News Facebook page.

Pat McIlhenney told the site that he and his son have signed a lease on the original Alpine location, effective July 1 and will begin operations once the current tenant, Green Flash Brewing Co. vacates the property, which was supposed to be on June 30.

Green Flash acquired the Alpine brand from the McIlhenneys in November 2014. In 2018, Comerica Bank, the San Diego-based craft brewery’s primary lender, foreclosed on Green Flash and sold its assets, including Alpine, to WC IPA LLC.

This past March, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, WC IPA cut “a meaningful portion” of its staff, including Shawn McIlhenney, who had served as Alpine’s brewmaster.

Allagash Founder Rob Tod Recovers From COVID-19

In an interview with a Maine NBC affiliate, Allagash founder Rob Tod revealed that he tested positive for COVID-19 in mid-March after returning from a ski vacation.

Tod told the affiliate that he self-quarantined and “rode it out” at home, not wanting to infect any other Allagashians.

“Other than that, my health has been great,” he said. “I”ve been exercising every morning, trying to get out surfing wherever I can. So I’ve been holding up.”

Even with the diagnosis, Tod said he was “so consumed and immersed in running this company at a time when we had lost 70% of our business the day that I came down with the COVID.”

“I just worked my way through it,” he said. “I had no choice.”

Since losing 70% of its business, Allagash has since refocused on building its off-premise business. The company in June shared plans to launch several years’ worth of innovations in the fall, including a line of sparkling session ales made with fruit called Little Grove by Allagash, a new stout called North Sky and 6-pack bottles of flagship Allagash White.

Deep Ellum Shutters Fort Worth Taproom

A little more than a year after its opening an outpost in Fort Worth, Texas, Dallas-based Deep Ellum has closed the taproom, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

“We were very excited to get up and running with our first location outside of our home in Deep Ellum,” the brewery wrote on Instagram. “Unfortunately, the last few months have presented many challenges and we have made the difficult decision to close this location.”

The location opened in May 2019, later than anticipated due to a federal government shutdown. It had already garnered negative attention from the city government, which ordered a giant mural to be removed before opening, deeming it an illegal business sign.

Deep Ellum’s inclusion within the CANarchy Craft Brewery Collective — the craft rollup that includes Oskar Blues Brewery, Cigar City Brewing, Three Weavers, Squatters Craft Beers, Wasatch Brewery and Perrin Brewing — disqualified the company from selling beer to-go, a revenue stream that has been a lifeline for many craft breweries struggling without on-premise draft sales.

“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic paired in part with our lack of ability to sell beer to-go due to House Bill 3287 have made it very difficult for us to make it work,” the company wrote.

Manufacturing craft breweries in Texas gained the ability to sell their products from their taprooms for off-premise consumption in September 2019, but the law that allows them to do so excludes breweries producing more than 225,000 barrels.

The taproom was listed for sale on a restaurant industry real estate site, but the listing has since been removed.

“We can assure you that Deep Ellum Brewing Company is not going anywhere, and you can still find our beers at retail locations throughout Texas,” Deep Ellum wrote. “Once we’re able to reopen our Dallas taproom according to guidelines from the State of Texas, we would love to host you there as well.”

California Governor Orders Shutdown of Breweries and Restaurants in 19 Counties

With a growing number of new COVID-19 cases in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom has expanded the state’s temporary shutdown of bars and breweries to include a ban on indoor and outdoor dining and drinking in 19 counties, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. However, restaurants will be allowed to continue operating outdoor patio spaces, as well as breweries that operate licensed food service or partner with neighboring restaurants or food trucks.

Counties included in the order include Contra Costa, Santa Clara, Solano, Los Angeles, Orange, Sacramento, Stanislaus, Fresno, Glenn, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Merced, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura. Those counties account for nearly 75% of the state’s population. All 19 are on the state Department of Public Health’s “monitoring list” for areas with an increasing number of novel coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

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