E-Malt. E-Malt.com News article: USA, NY: Empire Farm Brewery in Cazenovia shut down for rebranding and reopening as Meier’s Creek Brewing Co. by next spring

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E-Malt.com News article: USA, NY: Empire Farm Brewery in Cazenovia shut down for rebranding and reopening as Meier’s Creek Brewing Co. by next spring
Brewery news

The Empire Farm Brewery in Cazenovia, one of the largest craft breweries in Upstate New York, has been shut down by the new owners who bought it at a bankruptcy auction last month, Syracuse.com reported on November 12.

The big brewhouse, tap room and restaurant closed on November 10 but is expected to reopen by the spring as Meier’s Creek Brewing Co., said Colby Clark, vice president of Feldmeier Equipment of DeWitt. Feldmeier, a creditor in the bankruptcy, put in the top bid to buy the property and equipment at an auction supervised by a bankruptcy court judge.

“We are excited to rebrand and reopen (the brewery),” Clark said. “Rebranding it and doing it our way is the goal.”

Empire owner David Katleski filed for bankruptcy reorganization in August, citing about $10 million in debts. Feldmeier’s purchase did not include Empire’s “intellectual” property - the name of the brewery, trademarks for the beers, etc. Those are held by an affiliate company owned by Katleski.

All but about five of Empire’s 100 employees were let go in the past few days, sources familiar with situation told syracuse.com. Among those let go was Katleski himself, sources said.

In a press release sent out on November 12, the brewery’s new owners, using the name 33 Rippleton, LLC, said they will be "leasing the entire facility to Meier’s Creek Brewing Company, which will immediately begin the process of investing and improving the brewery, restaurant, and facility as a whole.

“The former owners of the Empire Farm Brewery have ceased all operations at the facility and have no affiliation with Meier’s Creek Brewing Company, which will open in the spring of 2020 as an entirely new and independent operation,” the release said.

Feldmeier manufactured and installed the brewing system in Cazenovia when the brewery opened in 2016. It was owed a little less than $300,000 for that work at the time of the bankruptcy filing

Feldmeier, together with a holding company it formed called Rocale LLC, paid $3.44 million for the Empire property in Cazenovia. The brewery is at 33 Rippleton Road (Route 13) just south of the village.

At the time of the sale, Clark said the initial plan was to operate the brewery “as usual.” Since the sale, he said, the company has had a chance to review the business plan.

“We thought about that (staying open),” he said. “But this plan to rebrand and reopen gives us the best opportunity to create a real destination operation there.”

The bankruptcy and sale of the Empire in Cazenovia is unrelated to the recent eviction and closing of its affiliate brewery, the Empire Brewing Co. brewpub in Syracuse’s Armory Square. That business, also owned by Katleski, was not part of the sale to Feldmeier.

11 November, 2019

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