23 Aug Tallgrass Brewing Shuts Down Production Brewery Operations
first published on mhkbusiness.com, Aug. 23, 2018
Tallgrass Brewing of Manhattan, Kansas will cease production operations, at least temporarily, on Aug. 24, 2018. A capital investment via a private equity fund in 2017 did not have the expected result of bolstering Tallgrass’ position in the market, so all employees will be furloughed while additional funding is sought.
Tallgrass opened in 2007 to rave reviews and unfettered growth in sales. A production brewery was built in 2015 with a significant capital investment, and the brewery began distributing to 18 states. However, Tallgrass founder Jeff Gill stated that the rise in craft brewery number and a movement to drink local at taprooms rather than purchase regional or national brands at liquor stores lessened Tallgrass’ position in the marketplace.
In general, the story is one of growth beyond means followed by a shift in the market (subtle though it is, since many national and regional breweries are doing just fine), and then a failure or contraction in an effort to get out from underneath a crippling debt. The 2017 acquisition of private equity firms investment was covered by Brewbound (here), saying that the midsize brewery was feeling squeezed between local taprooms and national brands.
As a result of that investment, Tallgrass chose not to do several planned releases in 2017, but did make seasonals, both last year and this, and production did increase 15% in 2017. Despite these efforts, either more money will have to be invested on someone’s part, or Tallgrass production at the main brewery will cease altogether.
However, The Tallgrass Tap House in Manhattan, KS is separately owned and is therefore not affected by the temporary or permanent shutdown. There is an onsite 10 bbl brewhouse and a full restaurant. It has twice been named Kansas’ top beer bar by Brewers Association and craftbeer.com. Tallgrass beers will continue to be made on site and served in the Tap House.
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