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Green Flash CEO says significant pressure behind closing of Va. brewery

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Green Flash Brewing Company in Virginia Beach is shutting down its East Coast operation and auctioning the facility.

The San Diego company expanded its second location to coastal Virginia just two years ago, investing in a $20 million, 58,000 square foot facility. Now, the facility is being put up for auction, according to a listing on Heritage Global Partners Asset Advisory & Auction Services.

CEO and founder Mike Hinkley says for the past two years, the company has been under significant pressure due to the cost and complexity of bicoastal operation.

“My first thoughts are that it is very sad. Any type of loss for this region is sad, especially when you think about the people who are working there and live there too,” Patrick Evan-Hylton said.

The news comes just two months after the company cut 15 percent of its workers and scaled back distribution to just 18 states.

One former employee, who asked to remain anonymous, said a bad business plan led to the closure, reports WTKR.

The owner confirmed Monday in a press release the local closing would mean eliminating 36 jobs at the brewery and 11 sales jobs as it focuses on its roots in California.

“You see businesses like Toy-R-Us also. I think it’s kind of just a sign of the times that most businesses are doing anything they can just to get in survival mode,” Evan-Hylton said.

When Green Flash opened its location off of General Booth Blvd., the city awarded the brewery a $265,000 grant.

Since the brewery upheld its promise by investing $20 million, they will not have to pay the grant money back.

Now begs the question–with the facility up for auction, what business could take over the location?

“Even when you see places like Smartmouth (Brewing Co.) opening another location in Virginia Beach or you see Young Veterans (Brewing Company) opening a location at the Oceanfront. It is such a large facility, I don’t know by the economy of scale it would work for something truly local,” Evans-Hylton said.

News 3 reached out to several local breweries, none responded with interest in expanding to 1209 Craft Lane.

While the physical Green Flash Brewery will no longer be here in Virginia Beach, the company still plans on distributing to the state.