Rivertowne Brewery sale delayed again

November 9, 2018

The sale of bankrupt Rivertowne Brewery of Export and two of its four restaurants was postponed Monday for the second time in a week as claims against its owners remain unresolved, prompting a judge to give creditors two more weeks to resolve their differences.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Gregory Taddonio warned the ownership group and creditors delaying the sale of the brewery and its restaurants in Monroeville and Verona will cost Rivertowne time and money -- “something the debtor is short on in both respects.” If the proposed $2.1 million sale to Brewery Acquisition Co. of Wexford and Helltown Brewing of Mt. Pleasant were to fall through, the value of those assets would decrease and that means less money for creditors, Taddonio said.

Rivertowne creditors continue to object to releasing the company’s officers from their financial obligations, as outlined in the tentative sales agreement, said Michael Roeschenthaler, Rivertowne’s attorney.

Without the businesses being sold, Roeschenthaler has told the judge Rivertowne would be left with restaurant equipment and machinery not worth much, along with a liquor license.

Rivertowne filed for bankruptcy in May, which gave it time to reorganize its finances while gaining protection from creditors. Rivertowne Growth Group said its liabilities were about $2.8 million, but assets were only $2.3 million.

If the sale is approved, Arnie Burchianti would be the primary owner of Rivertowne and Helltown through his Brewery Acquisition Co. Burchianti said he would have to work out leases with the property owners if they keep the restaurants at the current sites. Rivertowne does not own the buildings.

The fate of Rivertowne’s North Shore pub -- which drew no bid at auction this month -- was sealed Monday when Roeschenthaler said the lease will be terminated Oct. 31 and the pub will close.

Both Rivertowne and Continental North Shore II LP, landlord for Rivertowne’s North Shore restaurant, agreed the company would end its lease. S&T Bank, which has claims against the restaurant’s fixtures, would have three weeks to remove its collateral at the site, said Eric Nelson, Continental’s attorney.

Closing the North Shore site will give Rivertowne some relief from a drain on its remaining money, Taddonio said.

Rivertowne is spending about $1,500 a day to keep afloat and will “try to tighten its belt a little more,” Roeschenthaler said. The Rivertowne restaurant on Jones Street in Verona will remain open “for a period of time,” but Rivertowne Pour House in Monroeville would keep operating only for the “short term.”

No one bid in an auction for Rivertowne’s North Huntingdon location along Route 30.

Roeschenthaler said he believes the Rivertowne Pub & Grille in North Huntingdon tavern is “still in play” and may even be open to competitive bidding. Burchianti said he remains interested in the site.

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