Kansas certainly isn’t known as a top-tier state for craft beer, but when the largest craft brewery in the state closes, it is notable. According to numerous news sites, Tallgrass Brewing is ceasing all production this week as it failed to secure financing to keep the kettles boiling.
Founded in 2007, the company built a large $7.5 million production brewery and expanded into 18 states during the 2005-16 period. Hitting the same hyper-competitive marketplace that has led to the struggle and closure of craft breweries across the country, Tallgrass turned to private capital last year to purchase a majority of the company, but that deal fell through.
There has been an uptick in brewery closings this year, with two notable high-profile breweries, San Diego’s Green Flash and New Hampshire’s Smuttynose Brewing both selling off their companies to private equity groups. Craft beer production has leveled off and was reported by the Brewers Association at 5% growth mid-year this year over the same period last year. Growth in 2017 was also 5% for the full year. Most industry analysts predict a tough second half, with this reporter predicting a 3-4% growth rate for full-year 2018 and flat in 2019.