Freedom brewer is on verge of closure

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Brand, Beer

Yet another of Britain's niche beer brewers is on the verge of closing down. The Freedom Brewing Company is fighting for survival and has issued a...

Yet another of Britain's niche beer brewers is on the verge of closing down.

The Freedom Brewing Company is fighting for survival and has issued a "come and get us" rescue plea to other brewers and drinks companies.

After three years of heavy investment, Freedom boss Duncan Watts and his backers are looking for new blood to reinvigorate the troubled beer label.

Freedom is looking for a partner or outright buyer to rescue the organic beer brand.

"We need someone with existing distribution and existing brands that maybe Freedom can ride on the back of," said Mr Watts, founder of the Pitcher & Piano bar chain.

"Freedom is a fantastic product and once people try it they are very loyal, but we just cannot compete with the powerful lager companies that have multi-million pound marketing budgets."

The London-based business produces bottled organic lager, owns four bars in the capital and has about 50 accounts with other pub retailers, mainly in London and Brighton.

"When I was a retailer I always used to think 'whinging small brewers' but now I realise how tough it is. It is very hard to devote all your time and energy barely to break even," said Mr Watts.

The company that backs Freedom financially is called Nemadi. In the past it has owned stakes in the Covent Garden Soup firm and Green & Black chocolate, both niche organic products.

"The idea is that a premium organic product will flourish against mass-produced rivals, which in this case is clearly UK mainstream lager brands," said Mr Watts.

"It was great when we converted to organic status. We had a fresh clean beer that people were drinking a week after it was made.

"I buy organic tomatoes because they taste better. We believe the same applies to beer and we just need the power to get that message across." The decision to go organic saw production move to Germany.

Freedom was created in 1995, brewing small batches of hand-crafted beer. Mr Watts bought a 53 per cent stake in the business in 2000.

Mr Watts said he had already approached many regional brewers. "We are not great salesmen - we make great beer," he said. "We still passionately believe in the brand and would give it away to see it survive."

Related topics: Beer

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