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Coast Range Closed?

I heard a rumor today from a fairly reliable source that Coast Range Brewing in Gilroy, California has closed their doors for good. My understanding is that they’re a Chapter 11 Reorganization Bankruptcy and are actively looking for a buyer.

I’m sorry to say that’s it’s not a huge surprise as they’ve been having financial difficulties … well, for a very long time now. For several years at least they’ve managed to stay afloat due mainly to doing contract beers for a variety of clients, having picked up quite a lot of new business when Golden Pacific Brewing was sold to Gambrinus a few years back. Before that they picked up a tidy sum from a French brewery by selling them the U.S. rights to the name Desperado, which had been the name of their Pale Ale, so that the tequila flavored French Desperado beer could try to take over the American beer market during those thirty seconds when tequila flavored beers were the “in” thing — A-B’s Tequiza, which they still make, managed to own the category.

Coast Range’s passing, though, is quite a shame as I thought brewer Peter Licht was quite talented. Back when fruit beers were more popular, he made a Blackberry Wheat that I thoroughly enjoyed. And he did several fine contract brews for me when I was the beer buyer at BevMo, too. The only reason they never seemed to reach very far beyond their own backyard had more to do with distributor networks, retailers and some poor management decisions than bad product. I will mourn their passing tonight with one of their Farmhouse beers, a new label they debuted two years ago.

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