If ever there was a proponent of El Cajon Brewing Co. it was me, as evidenced by my many posts about the year old East County brewery restaurant. After only a year in business, though, I wonder if they'll be around for another year. A series of troubling events have occurred over the past couple of months, starting with the dismissal of owner/brewer David Meadows from the business. Check out his response to my Brewery Project post from back in April. Next came a new brewer, new beers, and a company struggling to reinvent themselves, all in the first year of operation. Right on the heels of this reorganization came news of the company filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, also within the first year of opening their doors. With the ink still drying on the bankruptcy paperwork, the faltering company chose to fire a missile at the City of El Cajon with the following remarks in a Facebook post from yesterday.
"We wanted to thank all who shared in our FIRST anniversary party, it went well.
We especially want to thank Jeff Klien from US FOODS for his generous contribution of food items for our celebration.
We were very disappointed however that the NO ONE from the CITY HALL attended the celebration. We were further disappointed that they REFUSED to even announce our anniversary on their public media email list.
Our new QUATRO CAJONES quad IPA is just wonderful, its probably the best beer we have made since our opening. We have plenty in reserve. We also have a great NEW BOURBON BARREL STOUT that is getting rave reviews, but we only have a limited amount and when its gone its gone. So get it quick before its too late.
Thank you all again and we look forward to next years even bigger party.
Patrons, past and present, came to the defense of the city, who poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into the venture. Responses such as the following showed no support for the spiteful post.
"Was in there at 5:00pm tonight. 4 people in the bar, 3 in the restaurant... As I left, the owner and several employees were discussing this thread, making excuses and being defensive about the posts. Very unprofessional to do in front of patrons, even if there was just a handful of us... Bottom line, with the amount of money El Cajon put into this company, they have no business filing for bankruptcy. They obviously don't know how to run this type of business. Very sad."
An attempt at an apology was made, with very little response or support from the public. I have no idea what's coming next, but I truly hope they get their act together fast, or I fear their days will be numbered. My advice? Make great beer, pair it with good food, and offer fantastic service. If they can do that, El Cajon Brewing Co. may have a shot. If not, they'll be missed.