North Brewing co-founder ‘debt repayments like cement shoes’

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

People focus: 'We're a people business. Our first priority is for the team and our partners, suppliers and customers,' North co-founder Christian Townsley tells The Morning Advertiser
People focus: 'We're a people business. Our first priority is for the team and our partners, suppliers and customers,' North co-founder Christian Townsley tells The Morning Advertiser

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The burden of debt repayments alongside a plethora of ongoing challenges were cited as the reasons behind Leeds-based business North Brewing filing a notice of intention to appoint administrators, one of the co-founders told The Morning Advertiser.

A statement from co-founder Christian Townsley earlier this week said the business was working with advisers and it was looking to seek additional investment​.

He added the group’s North Bar venues would be unaffected by the notice of intention and more news would be shared soon.

Townsley outlined the reasons to The Morning Advertiser​ as: “Covid, Brexit, the impact of material costs going up massively as a result of what’s going in Ukraine, not that for a second my problems are anything like what’s going on there, and the cost-of-living crisis.

“Interest rates have been a massive impact on us. The frustrating thing is all of that combined and the borrowing that has hung over us since Covid has just made the cost of repayments too much to manage.

“We’ve worked really hard to get investment in and come close a couple of times, and we didn’t get there and ran out of runway. Some lenders have been brilliant and accommodating and flexible, one lender much less so, just unresponsive.

“The really frustrating thing is, on a business level, the brewery had a tough year in 2022-2023, [we] had had our first significant loss since trading but, we’ve turned it around and, this year, we were going to post a profit [but] the debt repayments are like cement shoes,” he said.

However, Townsley emphasised how the business wanted to look after the people it supports.

“We’re a people business. Our first priority is for the team and our partners, suppliers and customers,” he added.

North Brewing was started by Townsley and John Gyngell in 2015, which followed the success of their first North Bar in New Briggate, Leeds, which opened in 1997.

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