Good River Beer Company, which experienced both the highest highs and the lowest lows in 2020, finished off the year by filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and claiming that a former employee had embezzled money.
In its December 15, 2020, court filing, Good River co-founder Adam Odoski says the company has $50,000 to $100,000 in assets — a good chunk of that comprising beer that has been brewed and canned by Sleeping Giant Brewing, a contract brewery in Denver. Good River claims debts of more than $100,000.
But Good River also alleges that a former employee made fraudulent American Express charges of $116,200 to the company and wrote checks totaling $20,400 to a fraudulent company. The bankruptcy filing says that a criminal investigation of the situation by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office is ongoing.
A JeffCo spokesman notes that the case remains under investigation, but didn't comment further.
Odoski didn't return an email seeking comment.
Founded in 2015, Good River made a name for itself locally with beer that it brewed at contract locations and sold to bars, restaurants and liquor stores. But the owners were always looking for a taproom location where they could make the beer themselves and welcome customers. That finally happened in November 2019 after Good River merged with Renegade Brewing and took over Renegade's former production space at 918 West First Avenue, in the Yard on Santa Fe, renovating a good chunk of it into a 75-seat taproom.
The two breweries also got a big financial investment from the Little Pub Company, which owns twenty or so local bars and restaurants, including the British Bulldog, the Elm and Don's Club Tavern. The three entities planned to open a third location, but the merger imploded in May, partially because of the pandemic, which damaged sales for all three businesses.
Renegade has since reopened its original taproom at 925 West Ninth Avenue but has stopped packaging beer.
Sleeping Giant Brewing, which began brewing, canning and selling Boulder Beer Company's brands in 2020 after the historic brewery closed its pub, now has possession of Good River's inventory, according to the bankruptcy filing.
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