We never like to see a business here close, but announcements that we will have not one — but two — Huntsville breweries to close at the end of the month was sad news to us indeed.
Salty Nut Brewery and Fractal Brewing Project both announced that they will close their doors for good July 31. Here’s what we know about the latest Huntsville breweries to close:
Fractal Brewing Project
Fractal Brewing Project, which has been a go-to spot for pregame festivities for the Huntsville City FC games (thanks to the brewery’s proximity to Joe Davis Stadium), announced over the weekend via social media that it will close its doors July 31.
Brewery owners cited the impact of COVID-19, the lingering supply chain issues and changes in the beer industry as reasons behind the brewery’s closure.
“We have deep appreciation for the staff that enabled the operations and provided a fun atmosphere, industry partners that provided the goods and services required to run the business, wholesale and retail partners that helped promote and serve Fractal beer, and most of all the Fractal clientele that visited our taproom, drank our award winning beer, solved our math problems, celebrated with amazing local and regional musical talent, supported Huntsville City Football Club, and just had a great time. Thank you all for making a part of Huntsville’s amazing craft beer history.”Fractal Brewing Project via Facebook
Fractal was founded by Huntsville native Larry Lowe, an engineer who eventually followed his passion for making craft beer into opening a brewery.
Fans of the brewery expressed their dismay at the news on Facebook, many saying that Fractal was their favorite brewery in the city.
Salty Nut Brewery
Salty Nut Brewery, founded 12 years ago by Brent Cole and Daniel Yant, also announced over the weekend that July would be its last month in business as well.
In 2020, Huntsville’s Straight to Ale Brewery purchased Salty Nut in an effort to keep the brewery afloat amid uncertain business times, but here we are three years later and unfortunately the brewery is unable to remain open.
The craft beer industry’s challenges
The closing of Fractal and Salty Nut could be a result of a shift in the craft brewery industry. Once one of the hottest markets in the alcoholic beverage industry, reports show that sales and popularity of craft beer has declined.
According to beer industry trade publication BevNet, “Craft beer recorded both dollar and case sales declines in 2022, and 2023 is not expected to be much better.”
“The pressure for wholesalers to reduce us [craft beer] to get that inventory down is only going to increase until they can bring that back down to pre-COVID levels. Distributors are going to lean into other categories, retailers are going to cut shelf space. And this cycle, unfortunately for the short term, is probably going to self perpetuate to a certain extent.”Bart Watson, Brewers Association chief economist
Other Huntsville breweries to close in the last few years include Blue Pants in Madison and Below the Radar.
The best way to combat this trend is to support your local breweries, like Straight to Ale, Yellowhammer, Rocket Republic, Mad Malts, Green Bus, Old Black Bear, Chandler’s Ford and Innerspace.