Black Bear Bottling Layoffs Expected After Company Closes Factory

Bottles with soft drinks

Black Bear Bottling to Close Factory

A manufacturer of vividly colored sodas, Black Bear Bottling Group, LLC, has filed for receivership after which the company has announced that it will be permanently shutting down its operations in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, resulting in Black Bear Bottling layoffs.

The company has sought a court’s protection against its creditors, and is looking to liquidate its assets, including factory machinery and office equipment.

Following the closure of its factory, all 76 employees of the company will be cut loose. The receiver appointed by the court, attorney Seth Dizard, will ensure that the company will be paying all of its employees their due salaries and benefits before they are let go.

A receivership arrangement is similar to bankruptcy protection which allows the company to place its assets under the court’s custody, such that its creditors cannot make claims against the company until it restructures its debt or liquidates its assets.


According to the receivership filing submitted to the Milwaukee County Circuit Court, the company lists its liabilities as at least $10.6 million. The company’s assets are listed at a book value of $9.4 million, although their fair market value is estimated to be much lower, which has landed the company in hot water with its creditors.

The biggest creditor is First Bank of Highland Park, which is owed at least $5.2 million, which accounts for nearly half of the company’s total liabilities. The bank holds a lien against nearly all of the company’s assets. For now, the bank is also providing temporary financing to the beverage maker so it may continue its operations through the receivership-based court proceedings.

Black Bear Bottling first opened its doors in 1920 in the city of St. Francis and it moved its operations to Oak Creek in the early 2000s. The family-owned business has been producing beverage packaging for various local and national brands.

Black Bear’s packaging products include materials for bottles, caps, and cases. Its packaging product lines include glass lines, plastic lines, and bag-in-box units. The company has also been producing soda drinks including popular flavors like lime, blue raspberry and peach.

Black Bear is continuing to operate through the court proceedings. Its production facility will be permanently closing by September 15.



Black Bear Bottling to close in September, eliminating 76 jobs,” Milwaukee Business News, July 19, 2017.

Black Bear Bottling, maker of brightly colored sodas, files for receivership,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 17, 2017.

Capabilities,” Black Bear Bottling Group, LLC, last accessed July 20, 2017.