NOLESVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Mill Creek Brewing Company has closed its doors after four years.
Brewery Founder and CEO Chris Going announced the decision to the staff of nine full-time and 18 part-time employees on Friday.
During its four-year run, Mill Creek expanded distribution to three other states and opened taprooms in 12 South and Franklin outside of its flagship taproom in Nolensville.
The brewery announced plans to file for bankruptcy protection this week, stating it could not meet many of its financial obligations and was without the funds to dig itself out of the hole.
Going said local codes in Nolensville only permitted the taproom to open three days a week for a total of 19 hours. However, he said the restriction is only a piece of the variety of issues that led to the brewery's closure.
"The local taproom piece of our business was so critical. I won’t go as far to say that alone was the thing that got us here, but as I look through numbers from previous years, the missed revenue from not having our taproom in Nolensville open more easily would have covered our debt obligations year to year," he said. "I’ll fully admit, we’ve made some bad moves along the way, but those really have come as a response to the local regulatory confinement. Notice, no other brewery in Nashville is making this announcement. If we’d simply been allowed to operate like our counterparts both locally and across the country, the news today would most likely be a lot different."
He added that Nolensville officials recently voted to remove the restrictions on the taproom, but the code amendment doesn't go into effect until December.
Going announced Mill Creek's closure with the following statement on the brewery's social media pages:
"As the news cycle will start to reveal, Mill Creek Brewing Company is officially closed. I let our staff know on Friday that we would be closing immediately and filing for bankruptcy protection due to the inability to adequately service our debt obligations. This decision was extremely tough, and our board of directors and I spent countless hours looking for alternatives to avoid this. Unfortunately, options dwindled, time ran out, and we were left with no choice but to shutter. While this is a very sad reality and I certainly expect this news will take a minute to sick in, we did not want the last message you receive about Mill Creek to simply be a notice of closing. We wanted to leave you with a note of both gratitude and hope, as the future, while uncertain, may not end up how you think it will.
Since the beginning, our brand has centered around four words: Less Fuss More Beer. This was more than a slogan to us; it was a mission. In a world and industry that all too often places the focus on the liquid in your glass, we sought to create an approachable beer brand that would be so easy drinking and great tasting that it would help people to focus less on the judgment of the liquid and more on the truly important things in life: conversation, friendship, laughter, community.
Thank you for so passionately supporting this mission with us. Whether you joined us in one of our taprooms or purchased our beer out in the market, every ounce of beer Mill Creek put into the world was done for you, the people! We've watched with joy as you've chosen us to play host to your weddings, parties, celebrations, and meetings. We've watched enthusiastically as our beer was there with you for the milestones and the tragedies in your world. While our team worked hard to carefully and strategically curate this brand for the world to see and drink, it was YOU - our friends, fans, and customers - who gave Mill Creek its life and spirit. What an amazing gift it has been to be a part of your lives these past four years. Thank you for letting us in.
I am unsure of what the future may hold. It's very likely Mill Creek is finished, in which case the legal processes of our closure will unfold, and the brand will simply cease to exist. However, it's possible there is a future. Our company and brand still have value and valid place in the world. I can't speak for how this could play out, but I want to leave you with this message.
Let's hope! Together.
Let's hope someone still sees the value of this thing we love. Let's hope there's a new day for Mill Creek on the horizon. Let's hope we have another chance down the road, to lift a Lil Darlin, or Landmark, or 615, or Neon Daze, in celebration of new life for Mill Creek a brewery built for you."