San Diego breweries craft beer
Modern Times on tap at the brewery’s Encinitas location. Photo credit: @ModernTimesEncinitas via Facebook

Modern Times Beer, an established part of San Diego’s craft beer scene, is the subject of a lawsuit by lenders that likely will result in the company’s sale, officials have announced online.

The employee-owned brewery has been transparent about its troubles, posting updates on its blog about the lawsuit earlier this month, along with news of February closures of locations in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Oakland and Portland.

Officials called that decision “surreal and painful,” but necessary as the company was “in immediate and unavoidable peril.”

Shuttering those sites, however, wasn’t enough, the company acknowledged in an April 5 post. The bank’s litigation, officials believe “will result in a court-ordered receivership sale of Modern Times.”

The company appears open to the possibility of having a court-appointed receiver, to oversee financial decisions and any potential sale, if the move allows Modern Times to continue operating.

“A going-concern sale would raise the odds of the new buyer keeping our talented staff, amazing products and renowned customer experience intact,” officials wrote. “Obviously, this is not an ideal situation, but across a field of exceedingly difficult choices, it’s the best one available and is far preferable to ceasing operations entirely.”

The brewery attributed its troubles to several concerns, some long-standing, such as costly and rapid expansion and challenges arising from the pandemic, to more recent developments such as soaring gas prices and supply-chain issues in the sourcing of aluminum cans.

Modern Times’ North Park, Point Loma, Encinitas and Anaheim locations remain open. The company initially said it would re-focus there, in an attempt to turn “our distribution and hospitality efforts back to Southern California and the Southwest.”

The goal at the time? To “build a smaller, smarter, more focused and more equitable company for the future.” 

The brand includes a range of beers available year-round, along with special-edition and seasonal brews, as well as 10 coffee flavors.

The brewery was born in Point Loma in 2013 and now has products distributed in seven states, from Hawaii to Texas. The owners chose the name “Modern Times” to pay homage to utopian ideals, represented in part by a community that went by the same name nearly 200 years ago.