CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Growler USA, a Centennial-based restaurant chain that has opened about two dozen locations nationwide but has struggled to grow in its home state in part because Colorado’s alcohol-distribution laws clash with its central premise of filling to-go beer containers for patrons, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The designation, for which it petitioned Friday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Colorado, would allow the privately held company to continue its national expansion, which it announced just last summer, while it reorganizes and seeks some debt relief from its creditors. President Dave Shaw said in a statement Tuesday that the move “will have no effect on the current franchise operations of the individual pubs.”
Founded in 2013, the chain offers an extensive elevated bar food menu as well as roughly 100 taps of beer, with the pour list at each of its 22 locations curated by local franchisees to help focus on area craft breweries. The restaurant also sells 64-ounce “growlers” that patrons can fill with beer and take home — or at least it does in most locations, but not in Colorado, where empty growlers can be filled only with beer that is brewed on-site.
The chain expanded heavily through franchising in 2016 and 2017, spreading its name from its original location in Eugene, Oregon, down through Texas and up into the mid-Atlantic, currently leaving it with locations in 15 states. After parting ways with Colorado Springs franchisees who chose to go independent in 2017, Growler USA has two restaurants in Colorado — a franchised site in Denver’s Highlands neighborhood and a company-owned testing ground in Centennial.
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