Iain Fraser and Tom MacLennan, partners with FRP, have been appointed joint administrators to Wooha Brewing Company Limited, the fast-growing artisan brewing business based in Kinloss, Morayshire.
Founded in 2015 by Heather McDonald, Wooha Brewing had built a substantial export business for its range of highly distinctive craft beers and regular seasonal releases. Eye-catching brand names such as ‘Roch N’ Roll’, ‘Hop Stampede’ and ‘Jenny from the Bock’ helped the business secure trade partnerships across a growing number of markets including China, Russia, USA, Italy, Finland and Israel.
More recently the company has developed an expanding trade and online domestic business, securing agreements with leading brands such as Wetherspoons, Ocado, Amazon Prime and growing direct-to-consumer sales from its own website.
Since 2017 Wooha Brewing has been operating from a purpose-built 16,000 sq ft facility in Kinloss with the capacity to support fast-growing demand. Since its inception the business has raised £2.3m from private investors which included a high-profile crowd-funding campaign. The investment helped create the infrastructure required to support a rapidly expanding export business and finance a major rebranding.
The administration has been caused by unsustainable cash flow problems arising from the rapid contraction of the global hospitality and licensed trade industry and the well-documented problems and costs for exporters arising from Brexit.
Commenting, joint administrator Iain Fraser, partner with FRP said: “Wooha Brewing Company is a high-profile craft brewing business with a substantial and growing trade and consumer client base. The business had grown rapidly in recent years, was well financed, and had a clear strategy and positioning in a crowded market. The business has unfortunately been severely affected by a combination of Covid, the contraction of its main markets and the bureaucracy of Brexit. Despite every effort by the Directors to keep the business trading and ensure the company would be able to capitalise on the recovery when it comes, the severe financial problems meant that administration was the only option.
“Unfortunately, 12 members of staff have been made redundant with immediate effect, with 2 staff being retained to assist with the administration process. We will be working closely with the Redundancy Payments Service and other agencies to minimise the impact on the staff. We will also be looking to sell the business and assets, either in whole or in part as quickly as possible and would ask any interested parties to contact FRP as soon as they can on 0330 055 5455.”
Press release from City Press on behalf of Wooha Brewing