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Rivertowne Brewing almost sold

November 24, 2018

Bankrupt Rivertowne Brewing’s Export brewery, its Monroeville brewpub and its Verona tavern will be sold to Helltown Brewing of Mt. Pleasant and a Wexford acquisition firm Friday if a federal judge approves an agreement to sell the businesses for $2.1 million.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Gregory Taddonio said Thursday he would approve the amended agreement to sell the businesses to Helltown and Brewery Acquisition Co. of Wexford, once all of the creditors approve the revised sales agreement. Taddonio joked that he did not want to have the agreement circulated among attorneys at midnight for their review, because “we’re dealing with a bar here.”

Attorney John Steiner, representing Brewery Acquisition owner Arnie Burchianti, said they hope to close on the deal on the assets of the Export brewery on Friday.

The agreement sells assets such as machinery and equipment and the liquor licenses, but not real estate because it is not owned by Rivertowne. If it does not buy the Monroeville site, the assets would be removed within 10 days, Steiner said.

The creditors’ objections to the sales agreement for Rivertowne Brewing and its interlocking companies that own the brewery, the brewpub and Verona tavern were resolved when the new deal held the company’s insiders responsible for the financial guarantees they made for Rivertowne’s debt, said Daniel Schimizzi, Rivertowne’s attorney. An earlier sales agreement would have absolved the insiders, including founder Christian Fyke and Lisa Fyke, Andrew Maxwell and Joseph Boros, from obligations to repay the debts.

Schimizzi said it was too early to determine how much the insiders would owe once the money is distributed to creditors. Fyke said following the hearing he also did not know how much money the insiders would owe after the sale.

Rivertowne filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May after a plan to generate more revenue by brewing new beer, increasing marketing and improving the restaurants did not bring in enough money.

When it filed for bankruptcy, the company had about 150 employees.

The fate of the Rivertowne Pub & Grille on Route 30 in North Huntingdon remains unresolved because it was not part of the sale. Schimizzi said he received confidential correspondence from a party interested in the tavern, but would not reveal any details about it.

None of the parties in court offered any estimate of how much longer the North Huntingdon site might remain open.

Rivertowne’s attorneys previously announced the company’s North Shore, Pittsburgh location would close Oct. 31 and the remainder of its lease with Continental North Shore II LP would be rejected. Continental said about two years remained on lease and rental payments would be between $300,000 and $400,000.

S&T Bank, which has claims against the restaurant’s fixtures, will be able to remove them since they served as loan collateral.

Rivertowne agreed to pay Continental $10,000 to release its lien so the sale of the businesses could go through, Roeschenthaler said. The attorney described the payout as being worth “less than a used Buick” and would not have a significant impact on the distribution of the sale’s proceeds.

Keg Logistics, which supplies kegs to Rivertowne, said it wants to be paid $69,000 for use of the kegs since the company went bankruptcy, plus money from the keg deposits.

Attorney Michael Brunswich, representing Keg Logistics, said it was important to move quickly to seize its property from Rivertowne because “kegs have a way of disappearing.”

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