Green Flash Brewing Company

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Green Flash Brewing Co.
Industry Alcoholic beverage
Founded 2002
Founder Mike Hinkley (CEO)
Lisa Hinkley
Headquarters San Diego, CA, USA
Key people
Erik Jensen (brewmaster)
Products Beer
Production output
82,000 US barrels/year (2015)
Number of employees
Subsidiaries Alpine Beer Company

Green Flash Brewing Company is an American craft brewery headquartered in the Mira Mesa neighborhood of San Diego, California, and founded in 2002. In early April, the company sold to a group of investors, WC IPA LLC following a foreclosure by the company’s principal lender, Comerica Bank.[2]

Starting in 2013 it began expanding, seeking to cover all 50 US states and to export as well. It acquired another company, Alpine Beer Company, 2014, and opened an East Coast brewery in 2016. However it financed the expansion with loans, and in the face of competition from local craft breweries it was not able to keep up with its payments. The company tried to shrink to control its costs but by April 2018 its lender foreclosed, and the company was sold to a private investor group.[2]


Green Flash was founded in 2002 by Mike and Lisa Hinkley.[3] Chuck Silva was brought on as brewmaster in 2004. During his 11-year tenure, Silva created a number of beers, including the West Coast IPA in 2005 and Le Freak in 2006. He left in September 2015 to open his own brewery The Pour House[4], and Erik Jensen was promoted from head brewer to brewmaster.[5]

In June 2011, Green Flash moved from its original brewery in Vista, California, to its new 44,000 square-foot brewing facility in San Diego's Mira Mesa neighborhood.[5][6] In March 2013, Green Flash announced that it would open a second brewery in Virginia Beach, Virginia, with a capacity of 100,000 barrels per year, which would make it the third-largest brewery in Virginia.[7] It took out a $20 million loan in order to build it.[8]

In July 2014, Green Flash partnered with Belgium-based St. Feuillien Brewery to brew and sell the West Coast IPA in Europe,[9] making Green Flash the first American craft brewery to brew, bottle and distribute its IPA throughout Europe.[10]

In November 2014, Green Flash acquired Alpine Beer Company, with Alpine co-founders Pat and Val McIlhenney retaining control of their brews. Green Flash had been producing kegs of Alpine's Hoppy Birthday, Nelson and Duet starting in 2013, enabling Alpine to double its output to 3,000 barrels a year.[11] The acquisition allowed Alpine to increase production and expand nationally, beyond California, beginning in late 2015.[12][13][14]

By the end of 2014 its beer was sold in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, Singapore and Europe.[11] In 2015, Green Flash opened Cellar 3, a facility and tasting room featuring barrel-aged and bottle-conditioned beers, located in Poway, California.[5]

By March 2016 it was the 37th largest brewery in the United States by sales volume.[15] The Virginia Beach brewery opened in November 2016, and doubled Green Flash's nationwide supply of beer, and helped move the beer to the East Coast market more efficiently.[16] It produced the same beers and have the same equipment as the company's San Diego brewery.[17][5]

In January 2018, in the face of competition from other craft breweries, the company withdrew distribution from 32 states and cut 15% of its employees.[18] In February 2018 it was looking for financing to restructure its debt.[8] At the end of March 2018 it closed Cellar 3, put its Virginia Beach brewery up for sale, and stopped distributing in 10 more states.[19][2] In early April, the company said that its main lender, Comerica Bank, had foreclosed on a defaulted $20 million loan and had sold the company to a group of private investors, which intended to bring in new management.[2]


Exterior of Green Flash Brewing Co. in San Diego in 2013

From its inception, Green Flash has specialized in IPAs,[17] building its reputation on aggressively flavored, innovative, highly hopped, high abv and high IBU beers, such as West Coast IPA, Palate Wrecker Hamilton’s Ale, and Le Freak.[7][20][21][22] In January 2016, Green Flash announced the national release of several new beers, including Passion Fruit Kicker (an American wheat ale with passion fruit), Cosmic Ristretto Baltic Porter with Espresso, and Tangerine Soul Style, an IPA with tangerine juice.[23] On May 6, 2016, Green Flash announced the national and year-round launch of three beers sold in cans: Jibe Session IPA, Passion Fruit Kicker and Sea to Sea Zwickel Lager.[24] Green Flash have won a number of product awards, including one of the gold awards for beer style at the 2008 World Beer Cup, and at the 2011 and 2015 Great American Beer Festival.[25][26][27]

Treasure Chest program[edit]

In 2011, Lisa Hinkely, a breast cancer survivor, launched Green Flash's Treasure Chest program. Each year, the annual charity event includes a new limited-release beer to raise money for local and national breast cancer-related charities.[28] The program begins with an annual festival, Treasure Chest Fest, at the Mira Mesa location.[29] Through 2015, it has raised over $220,000 for various regional breast cancer charities.[28][30] Green Flash has also been holding Treasure Chest Fests in Virginia Beach since 2014, as construction of the brewery there began. The 2016 event was specifically set to celebrate the new brewery's grand opening.[16][30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Manufacturers, San Diego Business Journal, April 1, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d Weisberg, Lori; Rowe, Peter (April 3, 2018). "Green Flash, awash in debt, is sold to investment firm". San Diego Union Tribune. 
  3. ^ Lou Hirsh, "Green Flash Brewing Names Ross as COO," San Diego Business Journal, September 3, 2015.
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b c d Peter Rowe (28 September 2015), "Silva leaves Green Flash", The San Diego Tribune, San Diego, California, retrieved 7 June 2016 
  6. ^ Peter Rowe (May 3, 2011). "Prepare to see more -- much more -- Green Flash". Sign On San Diego. Retrieved May 4, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Greg Kitsock, "Green Flash announces East Coast brewery in Virginia Beach," Washington Post, March 14, 2013.
  8. ^ a b Furnari, Chris (February 20, 2018). "Over-Leveraged, Green Flash Looks to Recapitalize". Brewbound. 
  9. ^ "Green Flash, St-Feuillien reach deal to have West Coast IPA brewed, sold in Europe - BeerPulse". 
  10. ^ Jason Morgan, "Green Flash Brewing Co., Brewery St-Feuillien announce partnership to brew, bottle and distribute in Belgium," Craft Brewing Business, July 24, 2014.
  11. ^ a b Peter Rowe, "Green Flash acquires Alpine," San Diego Union-Tribune, November 10, 2014.
  12. ^ Keith Grauman, "Alpine Beer Company Launches in Minnesota," Growler Magazine, May 13, 2015.
  13. ^ Chris Rov Costa, "Brew Times Two Green Flash Brewing Co. Acquires Alpine Beer Co.," Edibles San Diego, March–April 2015.
  14. ^ Chris Furnari, "Green Flash Taking Alpine Beer Company's Popular Double IPA Nationwide," Brewbound, October 5, 2015.
  15. ^ Connors, Tarcy (March 15, 2017). "Three S.D. County Breweries Make Top 50 List". San Diego Business Journal. Retrieved 16 March 2017. 
  16. ^ a b Sidersky, Robyn (2016-08-16). "Green Flash Brewing sets grand opening date in Virginia Beach". The Virginian-Pilot. 
  17. ^ a b "Green Flash to Open Memorial Day Weekend in VA Beach," Veer Magazine, January 15, 2016.
  18. ^ Kendall, Justin (January 15, 2018). "Green Flash Pulls Distribution From 32 States, Eliminates 15 Percent of Workforce". Brewbound. 
  19. ^ Rowe, Peter (March 26, 2018). "Beer bust: Green Flash closes Virginia Beach brewery". San Diego Union Tribune. 
  20. ^ David Kirkpatrick, "Green Flash Brewing Company," Boise Weekly, May 1, 2013.
  21. ^ Marc Bona, "2 Green Flash Brewing Co. ales – Crack One Open," The Plain Dealer, October 13, 2015.
  22. ^ "Green Flash West Coast IPA," Growler Magazine, December 4, 2013.
  23. ^ "Green Flash Brewing Unveils 2016 Beer Lineup," The Full Pint, January 13, 2016.
  24. ^ "Green Flash Brewing Debuts Three Canned Beers Nationally," Growler Magazine, May 6, 2016.
  25. ^ "World Beer Cup 2008 Winners List" (PDF). Brewers Association. 2008. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  26. ^ "Green Flash Palate Wrecker bottles roll out nationwide in March,", February 27, 2012.
  27. ^ "Great American Beer Fest 2012 Winners List" (PDF). Great American Beer Festival. 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2016. 
  28. ^ a b "Beer of the Week goes pink: Green Flash Treasure Chest". 10 October 2015 – via 
  29. ^ "Treasure Chest Fest". 
  30. ^ a b "Green Flash Brewing to Release 2016 'Treasure Chest' IPA to Support Breast Cancer," Brewbound, July 15, 2016.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°54′24″N 117°10′39″W / 32.9068°N 117.1774°W / 32.9068; -117.1774