Green Flash was the 41st largest craft brewery in the U.S. in 2015.
  • Green Flash was the 41st largest craft brewery in the U.S. in 2015.
  • photo by Andy Boyd
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Reports emerged this week that roughly two dozen employees were let go by San Diego's fourth largest beer company, Green Flash Brewing. Los Angeles–based craft-beer website reported on Wednesday (January 11) that "Green Flash Brewing has in fact laid off approximately 25 employees from their Accounting, Marketing, Events and Brewing Operations departments."

Green Flash Brewing Co.

6550 Mira Mesa Boulevard, Mira Mesa

When reached for comment, a Green Flash senior manager did not deny the report and would only offer the same prepared statement attributed to brewery CEO Mike Hinkley in The Full Pint story: "We do not make statements about specific personnel changes. Green Flash is not reducing the number of employees. In fact, we will continue to increase the number of employees."

This news would seem to contradict a statement Hinkley made to the Reader for a November 12th story regarding the brewery's opening of a large East Coast production facility in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

As to whether layoffs could be a consequence of Green Flash reducing local production, Hinkley offers an emphatic no. "Absolutely not," he vows. "We don't have a staff reduction of any kind coming. As a matter of fact, we have positions we're trying to fill both in San Diego and Virginia right now."

The Green Flash

701 Thomas Street, Pacific Beach

Those comments followed October's news of 60 or more being laid off by Stone Brewing, the county's largest beer producer, subsequent to opening its own Virginia production brewery. That 5 percent workforce reduction was attributed to slower than expected growth for the 20-year-old craft-beer company — what cofounder Greg Koch referred to as "more modest increases than we’ve experienced in the past."

Green Flash declined to clarify whether Hinkley's assertion that "we will continue to increase the number of employees" referred to the San Diego employee count or the net sum of both San Diego and Virginia Beach. As of November, Hinkley reported Green Flash employed approximately 250 people, which would make this a 10 percent reduction. However, he also stated the company will employ as many as 300 by the spring.

Green Flash was counted the 41st-largest craft-beer producer in the U.S. in 2015 and was the first San Diego beer company to distribute to all 50 states. It also owns Alpine Brewing Company and the Cellar 3 label. It will celebrate its 15th year in business in 2017.

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Visduh Jan. 14, 2017 @ 9:30 a.m.

A classic example of doublespeak. Lay off a couple dozen people, and claim your payroll count will grow. The overall count, including the new east coast operation, will have to grow. We might also wonder if some of those folks who were shed had declined to move across the country to the new production facility.

The craft brewers have been flying high for a long time, and with the proliferation of them and the multiplicity of offerings just locally, they were due for a correction. This may be just a slight adjustment, or some of them may be in for some really tough times. We will see.


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