Growth is on the horizon for Figueroa Mountain Brewing Company, the Central Coast’s second-largest beer producer after Firestone-Walker. But according to owner Jaime Dietenhofer, the best way to get there is reorganizing under Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which the company filed for on October 5.
“The good news is we have demand, but the demand is actually higher than we can do,” said Dietenhofer, a Los Olivos native who founded “Fig Mountain,” as it’s best known, with his father, Jim Dietenhofer, in 2010. The elder Dietenhofer died last year.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fig Mountain’s production was split evenly between packaged beer and draft beer, which is more profitable. With the pandemic hitting the restaurant and bar industries so hard and people drinking more at home, demand became 80 percent packaged, and Fig Mountain started coming up short on fulfilling orders.
“Investors saw demand and offered to help,” said Dietenhofer, who secured a new round of funding from Creekstone LLC. “The vehicle to get there is reorganization.”
Prior to COVID, Dietenhofer said production was just above 20,000 barrels in 2019. By 2021, he hopes to be topping 27,000. There will also be no change to the network of Fig Mountain taprooms, which run from Arroyo Grande to Westlake Village, with four locations in Santa Barbara County alone. Indeed, the new investment includes money for taproom upgrades as well as more brewery equipment.
“Nothing is changing in the business,” said Dietenhofer, explaining that the public’s perception of bankruptcy seems to be the only downside of this strategy. “If anything, we are hiring more employees. We were harbored by the current structure of the debt. We’re excited about the next steps.”
Every day, the staff of the Santa Barbara Independent works hard to sort out truth from rumor and keep you informed of what’s happening across the entire Santa Barbara community. Now there’s a way to directly enable these efforts. Support the Independent by making a direct contribution or with a subscription to Indy+.