Beer Man

Boulder's Fate Brewing Closes Lafayette Location, Files for Bankruptcy

Boulder's Fate Brewing Closes Lafayette Location, Files for Bankruptcy
Fate Brewing, which opened in Boulder in 2013, began coming apart at the seams last week, and Fate's destiny may now lie in the hands of a federal bankruptcy judge.

In mid-October, the Town of Lafayette seized Fate's Lafayette restaurant and taphouse, which is called the Fate Ale House, for failing to pay taxes, according to the Boulder Daily Camera. Fate opened the location, its second, in 2016 and had plans to open a third spot in Louisville at the time.

Then, on October 28, Fate announced on Facebook that it would close the Fate Ale House for good. “It is with heavy hearts that we announce the permanent closure of our Lafayette location," the company wrote in a now-deleted post. "The decision does not come lightly, but we are confident that it is the right choice. We are excited to re-focus all of our time, energy and resources to the flagship brewpub in Boulder.”

On November 1, Fate filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection in United States Bankruptcy Court, claiming more than fifty creditors, including its landlord, banks and brewing-supply companies.

Founder Mike Lawinski declined to comment, saying he might be able to provide further details later.

Lawinski, who had managed Boulder's Centro Latin Kitchen and West End Tavern, first opened Fate's main location, at 1600 38th Street, in the former Jose Muldoon's Tex-Mex restaurant. The 230-seat brewpub has a full menu, a wide variety of beers — including the flagship watermelon kolsch — and a gorgeous series of patios. He hired longtime Golden City Brewery head brewer Jeff Griffiths to handle the brewery side of the operation. (Griffith left Fate earlier this month to take a job at Odyssey Beerwerks in Arvada.)

In 2015, Fate acquired the leases to Avery Brewing’s famed but ramshackle collection of former warehouses at 5763 Arapahoe Boulevard, along with all of the old equipment, after Avery moved to its current brewery. Lawinski hoped to use the space as a production facility with a small eatery attached. But in 2017, the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau rejected Fate's application, saying the configuration of those warehouses made it too difficult to approve both a manufacturing brewery and a brewpub on the site.

Fate put the buildings back on the market, but the TTB's decision was a major hit for the operation, which was struggling to meet demand for its beer, and caused related financial problems. Later that year, the Daily Camera discovered that Fate faced two IRS liens totaling $270,000
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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes