Fate Brewing to shutter Boulder site amid mounting financial woes

Owner cites 'pressures of the business' and 'undeserved negative coverage' for struggles

The exterior of Fate Brewing Company in Boulder on April 18, 2013.
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Fate Brewing Co., facing a slew of financial hardships that culminated last fall in a bankruptcy filing, will close the doors this month to its flagship Boulder location, the last vestige of the company’s once expansive reach across Boulder County.

In a message posted to the company’s website, owner Michael Lawinski said the store, located at 1600 38th St., would close at end-of-day on May 27; it’s unclear if the company plans to cease operations on its brewing side as well, though the site’s shuttering likely portends a complete discontinuation of Fate services. An effort to reach Lawinski for comment on Monday was unsuccessful.

“In 2013,” Lawinski wrote, “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.

“Despite the daily joys we feel serving the community and connecting with our friends,” he added, “the pressures of the business and the undeserved negative coverage have weighed on us too greatly. It is unfortunately time that we say goodbye.”

The exit follows a tumultuous year for the brewpub that once set its sights on expanding to a separate Boulder location and at least two new sites across the county.

The company last year faced hundreds of thousands of dollars in liens from the Internal Revenue Service and Colorado Department of Revenue in unpaid taxes at the same time it had its new Lafayette location seized by the city over similarly unpaid debts. Prior to that, Fate inked a deal in 2015 to lease the former Avery Brewing space in Boulder, with plans for a restaurant and tasting room, in addition to brewing operations. But the site failed to get approval from federal licensing authorities, and Fate put the premises back on the market in August 2017.

“This project, although mostly unknown to the public, was something that FATE continued to carry the burden of financially,” Lawinksi wrote in his Monday post.

Recent months have been even less kind to the struggling brewpub; in November, Fate filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, with the company owing roughly $4.2 million to its creditors. In an effort to reclaim some cash, the company this year licensed its name to an Arizona rival who it once sued for aping the Fate brand.

Additionally, Fate’s efforts to assume the lease on its Boulder location have come under scrutiny, with the company’s lender, the city of Boulder and its own landlord opposing the move, citing doubts that Fate can fulfill the lease’s terms.

Fate recorded profits of $9,554 in November and $14,710 in December. But the company lost $68,719 in January, $47,686 in February and $8,079 in March, according to bankruptcy-court filings.

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