Good River Beer files for bankruptcy but contract brewer will keep brand afloat

Matt Osterman, founder of Denver-based Sleeping Giant Brewing, said his company will continue production of Good River brews “indefinitely.” (BusinessDen file)

Good River Beer Co. has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, but the beer will keep on flowing.

Denver-based Sleeping Giant Brewing, which has already been contract brewing Good River’s products, is one of the company’s largest creditors and will be taking over the Good River brand.

“Good River beers will remain on the shelf,” Sleeping Giant founder Matthew Osterman said. “The company’s filing is simply part of a restructuring within the brand.”

Osterman said Sleeping Giant will continue production of Good River’s brews “indefinitely and uninterrupted.”

According to its bankruptcy filing, Good River Beer owes $335,596 to 22 creditors and has assets worth $86,664. Chapter 7 bankruptcies are typically a liquidation process, where a trustee is appointed to oversee a selloff of the debtor’s assets.

The craft brewery said it had revenue of $822,418 in 2018 and $1.1 million in 2019. As of the Dec. 15 filing date, the company’s 2020 revenue was $652,372.

Friends Preston Hartman, Adam Odoski and Eric Zarkovich founded Good River in 2015 and named it after their shared love for whitewater kayaking.

Some of Good River’s river-themed beers. (Photos courtesy of Good River Beer)

Offerings include Fu Fighter (named after the Futaleufu River in Chile), Gunny (after Colorado’s Gunnison River) and Class V (after the whitewater classification). They’re sold in more than 500 retailers around Colorado and Wyoming, and just launched in Kansas and Tennessee, according to its website.

The business donated 2 percent of its revenue to river conservation nonprofits.

Good River beer was originally contract brewed by Sleeping Giant from 2015 to 2019.

The three co-owners thought they saw a Good River taproom around the bend in 2017, and had begun work on a 7,300-square-foot brewhouse at 1790 S. Bannock St. But the renovations required to meet the city’s zoning regulations ultimately became too costly, Odoski told BusinessDen last year.

Last year, Good River decided to merge operations with Renegade Brewing to create a larger entity called the Brewers Co-Hop. Mark Berzins, the founder of Little Pub Company, which owns neighborhood taverns around the city like Don’s Club Tavern, also took a 40 percent stake in the holding company.

Good River eventually opened a taproom within Renegade’s former 15,000-square-foot production facility at 918 W. 1st Ave. in December 2019, but shut it down five months later as a result of the pandemic.

Good River Beer co-founder Adam Odoski with one of his beers.

In May, the Brewers Co-Hop partnership fell apart as a result of the pandemic, and Little Pub pulled out of the deal. So Many Roads Brewery has taken over Renegade’s Baker space, so Renegade has stopped packaging and focused on its 9th Avenue taproom, according to Westword.

“The hard reality for us was we could not save everything we were involved with when everything shut down in March,” Berzins told BusinessDen over email. “We very quickly knew we had to cut off all other investments to save the ‘mother ship.’ Good River was one of many things that we could no longer support.”

Following the shutdown of its taproom and partnership, Good River Beer turned to Sleeping Giant once again for production ahead of the bankruptcy filings.

In addition to its contract brewing work, Sleeping Giant last year announced it would take over all non-taproom production, distribution and marketing for Boulder Beer Co.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments