Molson Coors makes London brewery acquisition with Hop Stuff buy-out

Beer fans who donated millions to independent brewery Hop Stuff’s crowdfunding campaigns have been wiped out after it went into administration and was sold to Molson Coors, which owns Carling.

Molson Coors has bought the brand and assets of the business, which includes Hop Stuff Brewery, two bars in southeast London and another in Ashford, Knet, as part of a pre-packaged administration process.

Founder James Yeomans will remain with the business, according to a statement from Molson Coors.

Hop Stuff Brewery Limited and its subsidiaries entered into administration on Friday 12 July, with KPMG appointed to oversee its sale.

Jim Shearer, Molson Coors’ marketing director, said: “We recognised in the Hop Stuff team a real shared value and ethos on craft beer – that it must be accessible, inclusive and of exceptionally high and consistent quality. When we found out the company was under threat, after spending time with James and tasting these exceptional beers, we felt Hop Stuff’s beers and the ethos James had started were too good not to exist.”

Shearer added the acquisition had the bonus of giving Molson Coors, which produces Carling, Miller and another opportunity to work on the premiumisation of its portfolio.

“Our track record with Sharp’s, Franciscan Well, and most recently Aspall Cyder, is testament to the care we take with these craft brands.”

South-London-based Hop Stuff, which was founded by Yeomans in 2013, raised funds through Crowdcube three times during its time as an independent business, securing £1.5 million from around 1,300 investors. The company’s investors will receive nothing from the sale.

In a letter to shareholders, Yeomans wrote that he was “absolutely gutted” over the company’s collapse.

“I am so sorry,” he said.

“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 it hasn’t happened.”

Hop stuff began to struggle earlier this year after it failed to declare a move to a new brewery in Thamesmead to the Inland Revenue, forcing it to temporarily stop production.

In February, it was served with a winding-up petition over unpaid work on a new bar in Ashford, but settled the debt before it went to court. Two months later, Hop Stuff’s brewery was seized by the landlord after Yeomans fell behind on rent.

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