Rising prices and Covid difficulties force city brewery to close

By Amelie Maurice-Jones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Battered industry: Brewery closes after two years of Covid-related difficulties (Getty/ Klaus Vedfelt)
Battered industry: Brewery closes after two years of Covid-related difficulties (Getty/ Klaus Vedfelt)

Related tags: Brewery, Manchester, coronavirus, Closure, Finance

Manchester-based Beatnikz Republic Brewery has ceased trading, with rising prices being the “last straw” after two years of Covid-related difficulties.

While the brewery’s chief executive and founder Paul Greetham was “very sad” to close the venue, he said there was “no chance” he would have opened with hindsight of the tsunami of issues faced by the sector over the years. 

Like many businesses, the brewery started to struggle during Covid. According to Greetham, the initial shock of going from normal sales to zero was “terrible”, yet there were support mechanisms such as furlough and grant applications that insulated companies from the pandemic’s initial impact. 

Despite this, the lockdowns, the closures, the various restrictions in place and the constant closing and opening at quite short notice ground the company down. The brewery found itself either massively overstocked or understaffed. 

“It was almost like a constant race to pivot to whichever position was required for whatever the situation was at the time,” said Greetham.  

2022 came with a new host of problems. A few large orders fell through for the company, and the Omicron Covid variant messed up Christmas trade. On top of this came rising transport costs and staff shortages, which Greetham admitted were the “last straw”.  

No money to go around

“The cost of living crisis is going for the roof, so everyone’s paying more for utilities and food, meaning people have less money,” he said. “The increase in the cost of beer is going up, and there has to be margin give somewhere, and unfortunately, for the brewery, it’s us that seems to have taken the chunk. 

“There is just not enough money to go around at the moment. It got to the point where we weren’t able to really consider ourselves being valuable anymore, so we had a responsibility to other people to cease trading.” 

Closing the brewery had been at the back of Greetham’s mind for a while. During Covid, the company was in survival mode, yet the price increases had “slowly eroded away the confidence”. 

“Even if you were selling, and even if you were selling well, and even if you could leverage whatever products, the costs involved with it were just too much,” he said.  

Devastated yet relieved

The brewery had been a 10-year-long passion project in the making. Greetham began brewing beer in his home, to working it as a side hustle aside a London day job, to getting into production, to coming to Manchester and founding the physical brewery in 2017. He then grew the small site into a medium sized brewery that exported beers to around nine global markets. 

Naturally, Greetham was “very sad” to close the brewery with his team equally “devastated”. On the flipside, he was also relieved, as could finally detox from the constant state of stress he had been in for the past two years.  

Despite this, owning the brewery had also been an “absolute joy” for Greetham. Highlights included growing the team, creating “incredible” barrel-aged beers and watching the business flourish. 

Greetham also said he was proud of having taken his home-brewing skills, which were “bang-average at best”, and watching Beatnikz Republic go from a one-person unqualified brewery making “okay beers”, to something which a lot of people love, and something that is infinitely better than it was previously.  

However, would he do it all again knowing what he’d have to go through? His answer: “No chance”.   

Related topics: Beer

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