PHOTO: Brothers Beer portfolio included venues at Onehunga Mall, City Works Depot and Orakei Bay Village. SUPPLIED
Auckland‘s Brothers Beer has voluntarily entered administration, attributing its financial challenges to the significant impact of Covid-19 lockdowns. Stephen White, the voluntary administrator from PwC, mentioned that the craft brewery and wholesale operation, which managed seven hospitality venues, experienced rapid growth, expanding from one outlet to six prior to the disruptions caused by Covid-19. Another venue opened shortly after the seventh one.
White expressed intentions to explore potential restructuring to stabilize the group’s finances and reposition the business for long-term sustainability. He acknowledged the well-established and respected reputation of the Brothers Beer brand within the industry and hoped to achieve a successful outcome, though the unfortunate closure of some hospitality outlets might be necessary.
With a staff of 70 and venues located in various areas including City Works Depot, Onehunga Mall, and Orakei Bay Village, Brothers Beer also supplied products to liquor stores and supermarkets. Despite the administration process, wholesale distribution would continue, and specific venues would remain open.
Aiming to propose a credible restructuring plan to creditors for voting within a month, White’s objective was to provide a more favorable outcome than liquidation. This development follows a pattern of financial difficulties experienced by craft beer brewers, facing challenges in meeting rising supply and operational costs.
Beer expert Luke Robertson, who owns Westport brewer Shortjaw, noted the industry’s significant challenges and described the current environment as one of the toughest in the past 15 years for beer production. He emphasized that this downturn, driven by rising costs, pandemic disruption, and reduced consumer spending, marked the industry’s first rough patch since 2010, and predicted that more craft beer brewers could face similar challenges.
Brothers Beer, founded in 2012 by Anthony Browne and brewer Andy Larsen, began as a small brewery and rapidly expanded, eventually establishing a larger facility in Mt Eden known as Juke Joint, boasting a 52,000 L capacity. This news comes shortly after Epic Brewing Company underwent liquidation and closed its Onehunga taproom.