Local craft brewer Mill Creek Brewing Co. is shutting down and filing for bankruptcy protection after four years in business — the first Nashville-area such business to cease operations since the post 2013 explosion of the local craft beer scene.
Founder and CEO Chris Going announced the closure to staff on Friday.
“Our board of directors and I worked tirelessly over the past several months to find a solution to keep things moving forward,” Going said in a press release. “Unfortunately, many options that could have saved things didn’t pan out. As time has ticked down, it hasn’t left many options available and we’re forced to make this difficult decision to shut things down.”
The brewery started in Nolensville and in 2018 opened a taproom in 12South. In September, Mill Creek took over Mantra’s taproom in Franklin. Going said Nolensville town regulations limiting the days the taproom could operate were in part to blame for the brewery’s financial struggles.
Also contributing to the business’ downfall was “over-leveraged expansions,” he said, pointing to the decision to export beer to nearby states in recently years.
“We also spent a lot of dollars investing in the expansions and support of those markets, and sadly some of those moves did tremendous damage to our company,” he said.
The company pulled distribution back to Tennessee earlier this year. Mill Creek reported its first profitable month in April.
“I’ll fully admit, we’ve made some bad moves along the way, but those really have come as a response to the local regulatory confinement,” Going said. “Notice, no other brewery in Nashville is making this announcement. If we’d simply been allowed to operate like our counterparts both locally and across the country, the news today would most likely be a lot different.”
Going said the bankruptcy proceedings could result in Mill Creek assets being purchased by other local brewers and that “there’s been some contact from outside parties in the past few days.”