Deep Ellum Brewing Company founder John Reardon has been ousted from the popular beer purveyor in the midst of a messy lawsuit with the brewery’s new owners.
Reardon shared the news of his departure in a lengthy Facebook post last Friday, announcing that his employment at DEBC had been “terminated” by its new owners, the self-described “craft brewery collective” Canarchy. The company purchased Deep Ellum Brewing Company from Reardon in 2018, and operates multiple craft breweries across the country, including Oskar Blues in Colorado and Cigar City Brewing in Tampa Bay, Florida.
“As it’s no secret that I’m in a lawsuit with Canarchy, the company who I entrusted to be the steward of the brewery and brand going forward, I’m sure it would come as no shock that they’ve come to this decision,” Reardon wrote of his firing. “If they don’t feel the need to pay me what they owe, I guess they’ve just come to the conclusion that honoring any of their commitments just no longer makes sense.”
Reardon filed the suit against Canarchy and its parent company Fireman Capital Partners on July 16, alleging that the beer conglomerate had failed to make payments to Reardon in accordance with the deferred payment agreement that was part of the original sale. The suit doesn’t indicate exactly how much is allegedly owed to Reardon by Canarchy, which acquired Deep Ellum Brewing Company for an undisclosed sum in 2018.
The suit further alleges that Canarchy deliberately sabotaged the success of the brewery to avoid paying “earnouts,” or payments that a business’s seller receives depending on that business’s profits. According to Reardon’s suit, Deep Ellum Brewing Company’s new owners failed to maintain a sufficient supply of the brewery’s beers, which resulted in “numerous out-of-stock reports and lost sales.” It also claims that Canarchy failed to properly market Deep Ellum Brewing Company beers in an attempt to lower sales and prevent Reardon from getting of those earnout payments.
“Ever since I sold the majority of my company back in June of 2018, Deep Ellum Brewing Company has been dying a slow death,” Reardon wrote on Facebook. “All of the promises made just seemed to unravel from the start. And now, just over two years later, the brand is a shadow of itself, the beers have changed, quality has gone down the drain, and the culture I cultivated has been completely dismantled.”
Now that his time with DEBC is over, Reardon plans to focus on his other boozy venture, Deep Ellum Distillery. In the coming months, the distillery’s vodka is getting a rebrand and a slew of new flavors, including pickle, grapefruit, watermelon, and blueberry. Deep Ellum Distillery is also in the mist of aging an “Irish-style” whiskey that will be named after Dallas blues legend Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter.
In the suit, Reardon seeks repayment of what he’s allegedly owed from Canarchy, plus interest and court costs. Eater has reached out to Canarchy for a statement on the lawsuit and will update this post if the company responds.