Beer fans who donated millions to a UK craft brewery’s crowdfunding campaigns have been wiped out after it went into bankruptcy proceedings and was sold to Molson Coors.
Here’s the deal…
Molson Coors has bought London craft brewer Hop Stuff Brewery and Taprooms rescuing the organization from impending liquidation, but at a huge cost to its many investors who had participated in three crowd-funding campaigns.
The brewery, which was founded by James Yeomans in 2013 issued the following letter to investors last Friday…
As you know Hop Stuff Brewery has been experiencing financial difficulties in the recent months. Unfortunately, due to the cash position of the business weighing heavily on the business, Hop Stuff Brewery Limited and each of its subsidiaries entered into administration on Friday 12th July with the appointment of Neil Gostelow and Will Wright of KPMG as Joint Administrators.
I’m pleased to say that we were able to secure an asset sale to Molson Coors Brewing Company as part of a pre-packaged administration process, which includes our brewery, brand and taprooms and the transfer of all staff to Molson Coors. Due to our financial position, this was the best possible option for our people and the future of our beers, or we faced the whole business going into liquidation. Unfortunately, a full sale of the shareholding of the Company was commercially unviable and so I truly regret to have to confirm that there will be no returns to investors.
I am so sorry. I wanted so much to turn the passion you have for Hop Stuff Brewery into a financial win for you and I am absolutely gutted that hasn’t happened.
I want to thank you so much for your belief in us. You have helped to build this business and I want to make sure that you continue to feel a part of it. For my part, I am absolutely committed to protecting the ethos of Hop Stuff and our brands and I am completely confident that Molson Coors share that commitment.
In Molson Coors we’ve found a partner who believes wholeheartedly that craft beer should be accessible, inclusive and of exceptionally high and consistent quality. With their support and guidance, we are going to be able to start brewing again and be able to supply our customers in London. Hop Stuff beers won’t disappear.
I would completely understand if you wanted to wash your hands of us, but I very much hope that you don’t. If you’d like to remain a part of our journey, together with Molson Coors, we will be launching a Hop Stuff Collective for original investors who would like to stay involved. Members of the Collective will receive exclusive access to key events throughout the year, a product subscription, discounts and be invited to be part of New Product Development through quarterly tastings and innovation sessions at the brewery.
While not the hoped-for outcome, I hope you agree the Hop Stuff Collective will be a tribute to the important role you have played in our business and a unique opportunity to help us build on that legacy.
As just-drinks correctly notes “the past four years have seen a slew of acquisitions in the London craft beer scene. In late 2015, Anheuser-Busch InBev purchased Camden Town Brewery, with Asahi taking control of Meantime – via SABMiller – in April 2016.”
In 2017 Carlsberg, along with Brooklyn Brewery, bought into London Fields. In July of 2018 Kirin’s Australian subsidiary, Lion, bought Fourpure Brewing, a month after Heineken took a minority stake in London’s Beavertown.