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Case Study: Wellspent

This St. Louis brewery was making highly regarded beer, but that wasn’t enough to keep it going in a tightening market. Here, Founder and Brewer Kyle Kohlmorgen shares lessons learned in the getting to open—and then having to shut down—his dream.

Joe Stange Apr 20, 2020 - 14 min read

Case Study: Wellspent Primary Image

Kyle Kohlmorgen of Wellspent Brewing Co. Photo: Joe Stange

The day Kyle Kohlmorgen had to close his brewery, he didn’t bother hanging a sign on the door. “I just put it out there on social media and kind of shut off notifications on all of it for a week,” he says. “And I went home and kind of put my head in the sand.”

The worst part, he says, was telling the staff—a few bartenders and his fellow brewer, Dave Daues, who stayed on an extra month to help mothball the brewhouse and pack the place up for sale.

Wellspent Brewing shut suddenly on August 1, 2019, after being open only 17 months. Its beers were highly rated and well regarded locally, but that was not enough to save it from mounting business problems, such as high debt, high rent, and an uneven flow of taproom customers.

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Joe Stange is Managing Editor of Craft Beer & Brewing Magazine® and the Brewing Industry Guide®. Have story tips or suggestions? Contact him at [email protected].