Hop Stuffed... or just some bumps

Rumours last week, a Times piece over the weekend and a shareholder email today.

- updated at April 29, 2019, 4:25 p.m.

Hop Stuff Brewery on a ledge or just against the wall?

Posted by Relte on April 29, 2019 |

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Last week, some photos on twitter surfaced that there were some serious problems at Hop Stuff Brewery... Then a piece in The Times over the weekend and today an email from MD James Yeomans describing the issues (in full below).

It sounds like an HMRC mistake/delay/snarfu has caused a fight with the landlord, trading losses and further costs to the business which are being dealt with. However, these issues started in January apparently.... and this is the first time shareholders have heard about it direct from the company.

Ultimately these events have revealed the actual precarious position of the company.

I will update as I gather more information. As a shareholder in round II, a tad bit peeved at the lack of comms but I do hope that no jobs are at risk and the team can resolve these issues quickly and get back up and running.


A Note from our MD; James Yeomans

Good morning,

I must start with an apology for not having been in touch sooner. The last couple of weeks have been some of the hardest I've faced, and the pressures the business has come under have been difficult to manage. To be transparent, I've found the guilt & distress so difficult i was hospitalised... which hasn't exactly added communications, so for that i apologise.

In January 2019 Hop Stuff Brewery was forced to stop operations owing to an error at HMRC. When we moved into our new home we failed to update just one document which had meant Beer Duty was being paid legally from our old site on the Arsenal, as opposed to our new site. This fault in production & sales lasted 4 weeks whilst HMRC updated their address book (yes, it was that simple!).

Although this might seem wildly unnecessary it was the policy of HMRC to do this, and as a responsible business we adhered to the halt. in February 2019 we returned to trading, albeit with a near £1-200,000 loss of income to carry. This loss of income hit us hard, and meant we were a little late in a rental payment due to the Landlord of HQ. Owing to a fractious relationship since their purchase of the Freehold roughly 6 months after we moved in, the Landlord chose to use this as a foreclosure opportunity (or an opportunity to reset the relationship), which left us stranded.

The Landlord is requiring historic arrears (modest), but also this forwards full quarter rent, and a new rental deposit - the balance of which is around £180,000. Because of the loss of income we saw earlier in the year, and the typically slow seasonal trading we did not have the cash reserves to resolve this immediately.

We have been working with A shareholders, and working with KPMG to establish a solution to this challenge that best suits the groups future and remain positive we can achieve this.

Please bear with me, and the team - continue to visit the Taprooms which are still open and trading, and i will try and have an update & course of action with you asap.

It's worth noting the support, and 3rd party interest in the business has been significant, and with that in mind we must say how proud we are of the brand we've built to date.

Thank you for your support, i'm sorry we are here but i will endevour to resolve as quickly as i can, and hopefully move towards the future stronger than ever.

Best,
James.