A liquidation company is selling off the assets of Sonoma Cider, which unexpectedly closed its doors in March.
Structured Solutions Inc. is auctioning off the company’s Healdsburg taproom and restaurant and its next-door production facility, which has canning and bottling lines, two large tanks and one large fermenter.
The company would preferably like to sell all of Sonoma Cider’s hard assets together as opposed to a piecemeal process, said Philip Von Burg, president of Structured Solutions. The auction could bring in as much as $1 million, he added.
The money would go to Sonoma Cider’s two secured creditors, Summit Bank and Novus Capital. Any leftover funds would go to unsecured creditors.
Bids for the taproom and the production facility are due by May 18. Those interested in specific pieces of equipment must submit bids by the end of the month, Von Burg said.
The assets can be viewed at the company’s website at liquidsolutionsco.com.
“We have active and interested parties that include wineries, breweries and distilleries,” he said of the taproom, which is located just south of the city’s new traffic circle. “You could be literally up and running within days of buying it.”
The Sonoma Cider brand will be sold at a later date, he said, which could be a valuable addition to beverage companies that do not have a cider product in their portfolio.
“There is significant interest by big players in the industry,” Von Burg said.
Sonoma Cider, which became known for its organic ciders in such flavors as pear, bourbon and sarsaparilla vanilla, closed after five years of operation. It had employed 30 workers and been available in 30 states.
CEO David Cordtz said in a statement at the time that his company “suddenly and without warning” lost its investor funding, resulting in its closing.
But original co-founder Fred Einstein said the company’s financial problems had been known to some of its investors. For example, it had a 62 percent drop in sales to distributors from the third quarter of 2016 compared to the same period last year, Einstein said.
Einstein said he left the company in November 2013 because he had differences with Cordtz over distributor selection, personnel and pricing — believing that Sonoma Cider charged too much for a four-pack at $10.99. He still remained a shareholder and rooted for the brand’s success.
Sonoma Cider had received at least $6.2 million in private investments, according to tech-company database Crunchbase. But Einstein said the overall amount was about $10 million, with about 100 investors who will not recoup any money.
Constellation Brands Inc. or Japan- based brewer Sapporo, which last year bought San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing Co., would be good candidates to buy the brand because they do not have cider holdings, Einstein said. He hopes the brand could be revived with new owners.
“Cider is having its moment and California is the largest market,” he said.
You can reach Staff Writer Bill Swindell at 707-521-5223.