Published in Breaking News

Spring Lake brewery files for bankruptcy after March closure

BY Tuesday, May 02, 2017 04:32pm

SPRING LAKE — Dutch Girl Brewery Inc. has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan about a month and a half after closing its doors.

The Spring Lake-based craft brewery opened in the summer of 2015 in a 7,500-square-foot space at 14964 Cleveland Street. Luke Finchem and Melissa Kelly Rozema Finchem were equal partners in the venture, according to the court filings.

As MiBiz reported on March 14, the company announced on social media that it was closing permanently after less than two years in business. In a since-deleted Facebook post, the company at the time said it would pursue a sale of the business for $350,000 or auction the company if it could not find a buyer.

Dutch Girl Brewing reported assets of $157,406, including $139,113 in machinery, fixtures and brewing equipment, according to the filling. The company reported liabilities of $333,567.

For all of 2016, the company said it generated gross revenues of $298,878.

In the filings, the company listed $199,114 in secured claims. Secured creditors include several promissory note holders: Phil Kiemel of Colorado ($80,472), Patricia Kolodziej Revocable Living Trust ($53,683), Charles Listen of Byron Center ($37,486) and Brark Industries LLC of Allendale (two notes totaling $24,475).

No banks were listed as secured creditors.

The list of unsecured creditors includes nine employees owed wages totaling $2,852; the Internal Revenue Service for back taxes; and local vendors like Beer City Glass, Carbonic Systems Inc., Ingraberg Farms Inc., Victory Apparel, and Village Baker. The company also owes the Michigan Department of Treasury $35,000 in sales taxes.

The Finchems also have an unsecured personal loan to the company for $70,000. The owners did not immediately reply to a request for comment for this report.

The company is represented by Keller & Almassian PLC of Grand Rapids in the bankruptcy proceedings. A meeting of creditors is scheduled for 11 a.m., Tuesday, June 6.

Sources contacted by MiBiz regarding the Dutch Girl Brewing bankruptcy filing said it appeared to be a case where the business got over-extended.

According to Joseph Infante, principal at Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone PLC in Grand Rapids and head of the firm’s alcoholic beverage regulation team, the Dutch Girl case does not portend a wave of troubled breweries.

“That doesn’t mean that we will not see more brewery closings and more bankruptcy filings, because it’s just business,” Infante said. “Like in any any other business, not everyone can succeed.”

Given the pace of growth in the $23.5 billion craft beer industry — more than two breweries open per day nationwide, according to the Brewers Association — Infante expected the company’s equipment to have some value on the used market.

Dutch Girl sold 177.5 barrels of beer in 2016, according to Michigan Liquor Control Commision, a division of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. MLCC records indicate the company did not renew its microbrewery or small winemaker license, which was due April 30.

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