Beer shop shuts after ‘worst December on record’

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Sad goodbyes: East Midlands brewer closes down (Getty/ Mark Taylor)
Sad goodbyes: East Midlands brewer closes down (Getty/ Mark Taylor)

Related tags Beer Finance East midlands

East-Midlands online beer shop Hoptimism has been forced to shut down after its worst December on record.

This comes after  UKHospitality warned​​ the sector is facing a winter challenge​​ “like no other” due to the financial strain of rail strikes, soaring inflation rates and the cost-of-living crisis. 

The shop's founder Rob Doyle broke the news on Twitter. He said: “It is with a heavy heart that I report Hoptimism has ceased trading.  

“It’s been a tough couple of years, but I had hoped that pre-Christmas sales coupled with a couple of opportunities we had up our sleeves would get things back to where they should be. 

“Alas, December was our worst on record, and the opportunities slipped away. Following meetings with accountants and financial professionals we were left with no option but to close.” 

The shop is planning to hold a closing down sale in the coming days.  

Doyle continued: “Since I started Hoptimism nearly nine years ago I’ve been privileged to see the craft beer scene boom and am very proud to have been a part of this."

On reflection

“Many of the reasons for the struggles in recent years have been out of our control, but this doesn’t stop the deep sense of regret about how things have ended and what could have been had different decisions been made," he added.

The founder said it had been an “absolute pleasure” working with amazing people, both in the trade and as customers, and would leave with countless friends for life. 

The shop is the latest in a long list of businesses to close their doors this winter.  

Users took to Twitter with disappointment and warnings about the wider fate of the sector. “The cards are tumbling in this industry. Use it or lose it has never been more apt,” said one user.  

“Sad how the industry is slowly crumbling, soon we will be down to just the big boys again,” commented another.  

Data from real estate adviser Altus Group showed more than 32 pubs a month disappeared last year​​. 

Manchester Brewing Company also recently closed for good after debts incurred during lockdown, the cost-of-living crisis and spiralling costs meant business could no longer function.​ 

Slew of closures

Pubs have also been badly hit. The Saye and Sele Arms – Broughton village’s only pub in Oxfordshire – recently shut down, as did the Ship​ in Southwark, central London. 

British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin warned​ without support to tackle rocketing costs across the board, more establishments could be forced to close this year. 

She said: "While these figures are upsetting, they are unfortunately not surprising. Pubs and brewers are facing extreme challenges; they are doing whatever they can to keep going." 

Doyle also apologised “whole-heartedly” to anyone who felt let down or disappointed and assured that it was never his intention to end things like this.  

He concluded: “Hoptimism is not the first beer company to close this year and will not be the last.  

“I know times are tight, but if you are able to support your local independent businesses, please do all you can. As the saying goes, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” 

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