In an update since we went to press (see below), we have learned a few more tidbits regarding Green Flash Brewing’s recent changes. We have reached out to Green Flash Brewing, a company we’ve worked very closely with for nearly ten years, and are now not hearing word back. That is the benefit of being a private company, there is no obligation to share the bad news.
- Alpine Beer Company in Alpine, CA has temporarily halted production for the past month.
- 1/18 – A member of the Alpine team went to social media to inform the public that Alpine was temporarily offline for maintenance, and they are back to business as usual. It would appear that this was merely a coincidence during this transition at parent company Green Flash.
- Alpine Beer Company terminated assistant brewer Kevin Brown, who was one of Alpine’s original employees, even prior to the Green Flash acquisition.
- The most shocking of all, but a little unclear, is that Founder, CEO and President Mike Hinkley has stepped down from the President role and that COO Chris Ross has stepped in. Sources have indicated this was a “falling on the sword” type of move. We are still unclear as to the CEO role, which is something you can’t immediately step out of without board meetings and corporate filings.
(San Diego, CA) – Earlier this week, we heard rumblings coming out of veteran craft brewery Green Flash Brewing that a few layoffs happened within the warehouse. When we talked to a few sales reps for comment, we were told that “numbers are up, however not where management wants them to be, and that the Virginia Beach brewery has exhausted a lot of financial resources.” When we reached out to Green Flash for an official statement, we were told there were no layoffs. This evening, The Full Pint learned that Green Flash Brewing has in fact laid off approximately 25 employees from their Accounting, Marketing, Events and Brewing Operations departments. Those terminated were given a severance agreement with a non-disclosure agreement, strongly suggesting they not to talk about this matter publicly and in a disparaging manner with the incentive that the company will not be challenging individuals unemployment insurance claims. The same employees have stated more terminations are to come this week.
We reached out to Green Flash to share a statement on the matter. Founder and CEO Mike Hinkley stated “We do not make statements about specific personnel changes. Green Flash is not reducing the number of employees. In fact, we will continue to increase the number of employees.”
According to multiple severed employees, there was no official reason given to the layoffs other than the phrases “business decision” and “a restructure”.
Green Flash is not a publicly traded company and has no obligation to share their sales or personnel information.
Companies reorganize and restructure in order to stay healthy and strong. Green Flash Brewing Co. has gone from a small brewery in Vista, CA to the fourth largest brewery in San Diego in a short amount of time. Much like Deschutes, New Belgium and Stone Brewing, Green Flash projected so much demand five to six years ago, that it was a natural choice to prepare for the future by increasing brewing operations. If we look to the Stone Brewing layoffs that rippled the craft beer community this past October, we know there are challenging forces behind national expansion. It is too soon to tell if Green Flash’s sales are down, and if they are, we won’t know for sure until independent market data reflects that.
Building brewery number two to mirror what took the first brewery many years to accomplish is no easy feat. Also take into consideration that Green Flash has taken on launching Alpine Beer Co. as a national brand while trying to grow their Cellar 3 lineup and you have lots of moving parts with a bit of uncertainty.
The statement about restructuring sounds solid in terms of the Accounting and Marketing layoffs. Laying off Cellarman, Warehouse workers and Events employees sound a little worrisome, but again, Green Flash could just be shifting resources or trying something new. Some of these positions could be moved over to Virginia Beach where the cost of living is much less than San Diego.
Another major factor that would lead to reduction in force at Green Flash would be one of the main reasons Stone had to make strategic cuts: competition forces. There are now over 100 breweries in San Diego County. Many people have a local brewery within walking distance now but for the first 10 years of Green Flash’s existence, they were the darlings of the San Diego beer scene, known for making cutting edge, hoppy beer. Since then, they have grown up and are now playing in the “big dog’s yard” with the likes of Stone Brewing, Ballast Point, Karl Strauss and AleSmith. Between the little guys nipping at their heels and the aggressive ramp-up from the bigger guys, it has to be a tough day at the office for Green Flash’s sales team. Either way, we wish the best of luck to the organization Green Flash as well as the talented folks that were terminated. There is a chance Green Flash issues a press release in the name of public relations, so stay tuned for that.