We had feeling it was only a matter of time after East Sixth Brewing, which changed its name from Rebel Kettle earlier this year, would announce a closing after closing their tap room last month. Today they made the announcement official on their Instagram page, saying the brewery has ceased operations and that all remaining inventory will be sent to liquor stores and area restaurants.
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Rebel Kettle opened in spring 2016 and instantly became one of the strongest local breweries in town. That strength came from founder and head brewer John Lee’s, along with brewer Josh Davis’, willingness to bring small batch beers with often out of the box styles and approaches.
Rebel Kettle was easily the beer geek’s brewery in the state. It gained a loyal reputation, especially since their beers were only available in the tap room and resisted the mass market approach that kept them small and grounded.
Things began to unravel early this year, pre-covid, when Lee was forced out of the company from the other owner. Davis remained behind as a more than capable brewer, but was immediately faced with COVID closings as well as a name change to East Sixth Brewing following Lee’s departure.
The combination of the changes and the ongoing COVID crisis seemed to be too much for the small brewery to overcome. They announced the tap room would close last month, and we heard multiple reports about the brewery, building, or just pieces of equipment being shopped around the market leading up to today’s announcement.
It is a sad end for what was at one point one of the best breweries in the state.
We will continue to track this development to see if any potential buyers come forward.