SOMERVILLE – When Somerville Brewing Company first began production in 2011, it didn’t take long for them to find a customer base both regionally and nationally. WIth an instantly recognizable name nodding back to the pre-redevelopment days of Somerville, the Slumbrew brand became an instant success even among the din of the burgeoning beer geek culture. It didn’t take long for the 2018 Massachusetts Manufacturer of the Year to develop their own taproom in Boynton Yards in 2015; a venture which proved so successful they opened up a second location in Assembly Row (also known as Candy Land for former hipsters now turned Medford soccer dads) last year.
It was the costs of operating the latter which caused Somerville Brewing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week.
According to the court documents, the filing was instigated by “cash flow shortages largely as a result of the significant expenditures for the buildout of the Assembly Row location.” The bottleneck forced the eight-year old brewery to fall behind on rent; with the current landlord, Federal Realty Trust declining to negotiate a repayment plan for the $391,672 Somerville Brewing currently owes in back rent.
Normally, a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in Assembly Row might attract the watchful eye of an Urban Outfitters development planner. Or maybe a designer taco bar (yes, Deep Ellum. I mean you.) But Somerville Brewing has vowed to stay open; at least temporarily.
Somerville Brewing Company co-founder Caitlin Jewell recently told Eater that “operations [will] continue as normal, and we would be delighted for guests to visit.”
Which is good news for both patrons as well as Somerville Bewing’s 63 employees, who are allowed to be paid wages and tips through the manufacturer’s cash collateral per court order. But the future of the Assembly Row location remains uncertain. Somerville Brewing owes approximately $1.2 million to creditors; many of whom have already placed liens on property and equipment.
The court order allows the taproom to stay open until November 4th, at which point another hearing will be held to decide whether or not it can continue to fund its operations using current sales proceeds. If not, the Assembly Row site will shut down indefinitely.
Image via Flickr / walknboston