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Helltown Brewing in Mt. Pleasant announces acquisition of Rivertowne Brewing

Renatta Signorini
| Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, 11:24 a.m.
Employee Brittanie Miller pours a beer during the 6th Annual Rivertowne Beer Tasting fundraiser for Friends of PTARC on Friday, April 1, 2016.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Employee Brittanie Miller pours a beer during the 6th Annual Rivertowne Beer Tasting fundraiser for Friends of PTARC on Friday, April 1, 2016.

Helltown Brewing in Mt. Pleasant appears to be the successful bidder for parts of Rivertowne Brewing, which had been up for sale in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Pittsburgh.

A judge will be asked Tuesday to approve the sale of the Export brewery and assets in the Verona and Monroeville locations to Helltown. Brewery Acquisition Company and Helltown Brewing had the combined winning bid of $2.1 million, according to court records.

The future of assets at Rivertowne locations in North Huntingdon and Pittsburgh’s North Shore will be decided at a later auction, court filings said. Inquiries about both locations were received by Rivertowne, but a bid was not received by the deadline.

Helltown Brewing announced the acquisition Monday in a move that would put both brands in one place. Investor Arnie Burchianti of Mars said he and brewery founder Shawn Gentry are excited to expand.

Burchianti, who said his wife is from Mt. Pleasant, has frequented Helltown over the years since it started brewing in 2011. He said he has offered to invest in the business. Finally, Gentry took him up on the offer, he said. The pair had been talking for about a year. When the Rivertowne situation came up, they moved quickly, Burchianti said.

“We basically got in business together in like four days to prepare for the auction,” he said.

The closed auction for Rivertowne Brewery and Tasting Room was held Friday after offers were submitted and reviewed. The craft brewery in Export and four associated restaurants could be sold separately or as a packaged deal.

Burchianti said Helltown does not plan to close any locations or let any employees go. Helltown plans to have its beers alongside Rivertowne’s menu.

They were working Monday to negotiate a lease with the property owner in Monroeville.

“It gives us the ability to scale and grow his business … and Rivertowne’s got this wonderful legacy,” Burchianti said. “Helltown is in desperate need of some capacity.”

Helltown’s current location is a production facility on Henry C. Frick Street. It has weekend events and customers can visit a tasting area to try beers brewed there. The beers are distributed in the Pittsburgh, State College and Philadelphia areas as well as Morgantown, W.Va., according to the brewery’s website.

“Helltown can’t keep up with demand,” Burchianti said.

Bidding for Rivertowne was set to start at $1.35 million, which is the amount submitted by Gordon Brothers Commercial & Industrial LLC of Boston. As of now, Gordon Brothers, an advisory, lending and investment firm, bid only for the brewery, and other unidentified assets and possible liabilities such as contracts and leases.

Rivertowne has about 150 employees. It continues to operate while protected from its creditors. Debtors are owed between $1 million and $10 million. They include the Pittsburgh Pirates, who were owed $271,000; the Pittsburgh Penguins, owed $125,000; and S&T Bank of Indiana, which was owed $103,380, according to court filings.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@tribweb.com or via Twitter @byrenatta.

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