El Rancho Brewing Co., a well-known Evergreen restaurant and watering hole that has fallen on hard times lately, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Thursday.
It’s unclear what this means for the future of the 75-year-old staple just off I-70 at 29260 Highway 40. Multiple requests for comment from the company’s attorney went unanswered.
Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows a business to restructure while paying creditors over time. In its bankruptcy filing, El Rancho said it had more than $1 million in assets and more than $1 million in liabilities, but did not provide specific numbers or a list of its creditors.
The first iteration of El Rancho opened in 1948 and the place became a popular attraction in the decades that followed. Its current owners, the Vincent family, bought and renovated it in 2015.
More recently, debts and unpaid taxes have piled up, as BusinessDen detailed last month. Its owners blamed a former manager and this former manager blamed the owners. A staff exodus in April caused a weeks-long closure and the cancellation of events there.
In July, FirstBank, which loaned the Vincents $1.5 million to buy the business in 2015, filed for foreclosure on the historic site because the loan was not repaid. On August 12, a Jefferson County judge authorized the foreclosure sale of El Rancho.
In an attempt to avoid this foreclosure sale, which could lead to a low purchase price, the Vincents listed El Rancho through Hilco Real Estate. The offers were due September 6, but Hilco always lists the property as unsold.
Hilco broker Steve Madura said by phone Friday that attorneys involved in El Rancho would meet this week to discuss next steps. He said: “There may be a bankruptcy sale in the future.”
According to Hilco, the mountain lodge-style building is 21,900 square feet and can accommodate 550 people. Hilco’s listing calls it a “tremendous redevelopment opportunity” and notes that its eight second-floor office suites “can be turned into a hotel or B&B.”
El Rancho’s bankruptcy case is being handled by attorney Keri Riley of the Denver law firm Kutner Brinen Dickey Riley.