Boulder’s embattled Fate Brewing Co. closes its doors after a six-year run on May 27. According to an email sent to fans by owner Mike Lawinski, the costs of trying to open a brewpub, denied by federal licensing authorities, and “undeserved negative coverage” from the Daily Camera forced the brewery that popularized watermelon kolsch to close.
Big F Restaurant Group veteran Lawinski opened Fate Brewing in February 2013, taking over the former Jose Muldoon’s Tex-Mex restaurant. The 230-seat brewpub features a two-level patio as well as a full roster of food and beers.
Trouble started for the brewery last October, when Fate Ale House, the brewery’s Lafayette location, was seized by the town for tax issues, according to Westword. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November 2018. Fate also bought Avery Brewing’s warehouses in 2015 and planed to convert the space into a brewery and restaurant, but Westword reports “the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau rejected Fate’s application.”
Then in April, Westword reports that Fate sold the rights to use the trademarked name Fate Brewing for $20,000 to McFate Brewing in Scottsdale, Arizona, a company Fate Brewing sued in 2016 for using a similar name.
Below, the entire statement from Fate Brewing Co.
In 2013, FATE Brewing Company set out to make people smile through the joy of food, beverage and great service. It was our mission to share with the world our passion for craft beer, innovative crave-able food, and devotion to service and community. FATE accomplished, JUST THAT.
We worked hard to defy the perception of the, “brewpub” by unifying craft beer, beverage and food in a strong harmony that was rarely seen in that format. These efforts brought us accolades from national publications like Bon Appetite as well as local publications naming us, “Top 10 Best New Breweries to Watch”, “Best New Restaurant”, “Best BBQ” and even soaring to Great American Beer Festival Gold Medal heights for our beer. FATE is often credited and praised for a nationwide craze in watermelon beer, light style coffee ales, tequila barrel aged Gose, and for being a true innovator in the market.
FATE grew to be a large craft beer producer, sending nearly 2,000 barrels of beer in kegs and cans to markets around the state, while serving 1,000 barrels of beer in-house. The brewpub was brewing at capacity and was unable to meet the demands of the local market. In 2015, with strong support, we made a decision to expand our beer operation to an additional facility in Boulder. This expansion would allow us to increase our brewing capacity and expand to an off-site production and distribution center. After great efforts and significant costs, the federal licensing authorities denied a brewpub license for the space due to a technicality with the layout, despite a previous production brewery and taproom successfully operating in the space for over 20 years. This project, although mostly unknown to the public, was something that FATE continued to carry the burden of financially.
FATE has ALWAYS been PROUD to be a family-run business that thrived from the output of our employees, grassroots efforts and organic direction. We are proud of all we have accomplished and helped influence in the Boulder restaurant scene, Colorado beer industry and the significant amount of money we have poured back into the community through the Boulder Fire Department, University of Colorado, numerous Boulder Valley School District schools and countless local non-profits.
Despite the successes, accolades, growth and philanthropic efforts throughout our lifespan, it’s unfortunate that we have been a continual target by our local community paper. The inaccurate coverage, reporting errors and negative targeting has had a significant impact on our business, and correlates directly with a noticeable decrease in our volume, attrition of staff, misconception of closure, brand confusion and challenges for our team, time and time again.
After six and a half laps around the sun, this month will be the last leg of that journey. We will be closing our doors following service on Monday, May 27th, 2019. Despite the daily joys we feel serving the community and connecting with our friends, the pressures of the business and the undeserved negative coverage have weighed on us too greatly. It is unfortunately time that we say goodbye.
From first dates to wedding ceremonies, from diagnoses to remission, from company celebrations to retirement parties, from study groups to graduation parties, from baby showers to births, from sports losses to wins, from tears to laughter… we have truly seen it all and we are IMMENSELY GRATEFUL for all of the memories! THANK YOU for allowing FATE to be your place to restore, for choosing us over the years and for spending your time and money in our establishment. We have been an extremely close-knit family from the very beginning and we are forever grateful for the opportunity we have had to positively impact the community.
We would love to see as many of our FATE friends and family one last time, and please don’t hesitate to share a story. Through the grieving process we will undoubtedly face as this dream comes to an end, we welcome all the joyful memories.
MIKE LAWINSKI, THE LAWINSKI FAMILY & THE FATE TEAM
• All Coverage of Fate Brewing Co. [EDEN]