Declaration Brewing, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January in hopes of reorganizing and paying off its debts, told the court last week that the coronavirus pandemic makes that course of action impossible.
"After filing of the case, the outbreak of COVID-19 caused the State of Colorado to issue a stay at home order and effectively shutter most hospitality and service businesses," Declaration's attorney writes in a motion to dismiss the case. "The damage to the economy has not yet been assessed, and may not be for some time. However, the damage to Declaration Brewing Company was immediate and irreparable."
"The Debtor has been left with no income stream with which to reorganize," the motion reads. "Debtor has waited to file this motion in hopes that businesses would be allowed to reopen, and that a feasible plan could be put forth to pay the Debtor’s creditors. This is no longer possible, and rehabilitation cannot take place."
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Although the majority of Colorado breweries have stayed open during state and city shutdowns, selling beer online and to go, Declaration chose to close entirely on March 25. "Denver is a healthcare hub for much of the surrounding region and will experience extra strain as a result," the brewery posted on Facebook. "We owe it to the entirety of our healthcare force to protect them so that they can do the same for us."
Mike Blandford, who is the co-founder and majority owner of the brewery, didn't return an email seeking comment. A biochemical engineer by training, Blandford had worked in the ski and snowboard industry before opening the snow-sports-themed Declaration in 2015 with head brewer Greg Schlichting.
The U.S. District Court bankruptcy motion comes as Declaration, at 2030 South Cherokee Street, faces a lawsuit and eviction attempt by its landlord and brewery investor BaseCamp Brew LLC, which has claimed in legal filings that Declaration owes tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid rent.