Cybersecdn- Flying Fish Brewery, renowned as New Jersey’s largest and one of the oldest craft breweries, has declared bankruptcy, marking a significant downturn in the state’s brewing industry. The Somerdale, Camden County-based brewery’s financial woes were laid bare in a bankruptcy filing following a sharp 23% drop in revenue.
From nearly $4 million in 2022, the brewery’s gross revenue plummeted to about $3.1 million in 2023. The brewery’s financial struggles were exacerbated when a promising acquisition deal with Cape May Brewing Company fell through in mid-2023. Cape May Brewing’s president, Frank Stempin, cited extensive analysis during the diligence phase as the reason for withdrawing from the deal.
This setback left Flying Fish Brewery in a precarious position. Owned by Elk Lake Capital since 2016, the brewery owes substantial sums to various creditors. The largest claim, around $4.2 million, is held by Elk Lake Capital. Additional debts include $4.1 million to another financial services company.
With assets totaling approximately $1.3 million against liabilities exceeding $9.2 million, the brewery’s financial stability is critically challenged. The impact of the bankruptcy filing on the future of Flying Fish Brewery remains uncertain.
Established in 1995 as the world’s first virtual microbrewery and transitioning to a physical establishment in Cherry Hill in 1996, the brewery has been a significant player in the region’s beer market. Its relocation to Somerdale in 2012 marked a phase of expansion, and its products have been a staple in South Jersey and Philadelphia for over two decades.
The brewery has a history of accolades, winning multiple national awards. Notably, it garnered attention post-Hurricane Sandy in 2013 with its “Forever Unloved Sandy” beer, contributing proceeds to New Jersey’s restoration efforts. As the brewery navigates these financial challenges, its legacy in the craft beer industry and its role in the community remain noteworthy.