What stories did you miss this week?
It’s been a busy week leading up to the historic Coronation weekend so you might not have seen all the important and interesting business and insolvency news stories from the past seven days.
Black Sheep Brewery
A well-known North Yorkshire brewery is going into administration after the business ran into various negative factors at once.
Black Sheep Brewery, based in Masham, failed to find new investment following the economic chaos caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the rising cost of living crisis.
Founded in 1992 by Paul Theakston, Black Sheep was renowned for its award-winning selection of classic and modern beers.
Charlene Lyons, chief executive and executive chair of Black Sheep Brewery, said: “The directors have done their utmost to deliver new investment into the existing corporate structure.
“This has not been possible but we are progressing with discussions around a sale of the business as a going concern.
An additional statement from the business said: “Sadly, Black Sheep Brewery is another victim of this awful austerity. That’s six breweries this week that have closed their doors for the last time.
“In total, that’s around 150 breweries that have called time since the beginning of the year. These are very good businesses, very well managed with great products.
“They don’t deserve this, something needs to be done. It’s not just breweries, it’s across the whole spectrum – no business is immune.”
BrandAlley buys Country Attire and Surfdome
The online retailer and members-only marketplace BrandAlley has bought the assets of the Internet Fusion Group (IFG) which owns the Country Attire and Surfdome brands in a pre-pack administration deal.
As well as the intellectual property, BrandAlley is also acquiring the logistics operation and customer service division which will see 125 positions preserved.
Rob Feldmann, CEO of BrandAlley, said: “The IFG customer is very much aligned to our existing customer profile and the acquisition will enhance our existing operational structure to deliver the best possible service for our members.
“These acquisitions mark a significant strategic opportunity to enhance BrandAlley’s infrastructure and render our operations more cost-effective.”
The news wasn’t good for all of the Internet Fusion Group (IFG) brands however.
Simply Scuba, which was bought out by IFG in 2020, has stopped trading and gone into administration after it was not bought in the BrandAlley deal.
Franks Ice Cream
A century old, award-winning Welsh ice-cream business Franks Ice Cream has gone into administration this week.
Despite opening a new gelateria and innovation centre alongside their existing manufacturing site in Carmarthenshire, a new buyer is being sought following the redundancy of 14 posts.
A statement from the business said: “The manufacturing business has been loss-making for some time, having been severely impacted by the surge in energy costs over the past year and also a significant increase in raw material costs.
“This, combined with an investment in the ice cream parlour put working capital under pressure and left the company unable to fulfil orders.
“Due to lack of funding, the administrators were unable to recommence manufacturing in the factory and the 14 members of staff who worked there were made redundant. The remaining employees, who predominantly worked in the ice cream parlour, have been retained whilst that part of the business continues to trade.”
Hampshire based craft brewery Fallen Acorn has announced they are entering a creditors voluntary liquidation (CVL) after being unable to navigate a combination of inflation, Covid-19 and soaring costs of utilities and materials.
A statement from the company said: “It’s with deep regret and sadness that we have to announce our voluntary liquidation.
“Despite doing our best to weather the storm the industry has been facing since Covid and now from the inflationary aspect on consumers and hospitality, trade has yet to return to normalised levels.
“Further a combination of an increase in material costs, utilities and increasing cash flow pressure puts the business in a position where it cannot continue to trade any further.”
Founded in 2016, the business owned a taproom alongside its brewery and wished its customers all the best in future.
The first three months of the year have seen an 18% increase in the number of corporate insolvencies annually and taken as a whole, there were more creditors voluntary liquidations (CVLs) recorded last year than in any year since 1960 when the statistics started being recorded.
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