Shareholder consortium buys out Black Hops Brewing as creditors remain in the dark

Shareholder consortium buys out Black Hops Brewing as creditors remain in the dark

Photo: Black Hops Brewing, via Facebook.

Gold Coast-based craft beermaker Black Hops Brewing looks set to stay afloat after a consortium of existing shareholders secured a buyout of the embattled business, which will continue to operate under a new entity.

However, at this stage it is unclear how much creditors to Black Hops Brewing will receive from the sale, which has been confirmed by voluntary administrators David Mansfield and Tim Heenan, from Deloitte Turnaround & Restructuring.

"The business has been sold to a consortium representing a number of the existing shareholders and other supporters of craft beer and independent breweries,” says Heenan.

"This provides certainty for the future of the Black Hops brand.”

Black Hops Brewing was placed into voluntary administration on 28 March this year with debts of $7.32 million.

In their report to creditors, the administrators said that the business had drawn interest from multiple parties and that a sale announcement was imminent.

Black Hops Craft, a company incorporated just two days ago on 13 May, has been confirmed as the new owner of the Black Hops Brewing business.

Records from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) reveal that Black Hops Craft is solely directed by Nicholas Harwood of Hamilton in Brisbane and that it has 100,000 ordinary shares issued. Harwood is understood to be a shareholder in Black Hops Brewing.

“We are passionate supporters of craft beer and independent breweries,” says Darren Hill, a spokesman for Black Hops Craft.

“Most importantly, we believe in the team and the quality of the product, that’s why we’re taking on the Black Hops brand. 

“Independent breweries are an important part of the beer landscape, and we genuinely feel Black Hops is a jewel in the crown of the craft beer industry.

“We’re thrilled to stay independent, start a new chapter for Black Hops and look forward to the future.”

Black Hops Brewing was founded in 2014 by Daniel Norris, Michael McGovern and Edward Oldfield, and prior to voluntary administration had 59 staff operating from three locations, including a tap room at East Brisbane which was closed after administrators were appointed due to an issue with the lease.

Oldfield and McGovern were the company’s biggest shareholders with 29.83 per cent and 10.82 per cent holdings respectively, while Norris parted ways with the company in February last year with the company buying back his shareholding for just $1 in January this year.

The administrators had revealed that Black Hops was running at a loss since FY22, with the cumulative trading losses over the past three years currently sitting at $2.85 million.

Sales, which peaked at $16.26 million in FY22, had fallen in subsequent years and were down 20 per cent in the latest financial year to date compared to FY23.

The biggest single unsecured creditor is the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) which is owed $3.2 million of the total unsecured debt of $4.127 million.

The administrators say the second meeting of creditors, which had been scheduled for today, will be adjourned to facilitate the sale of the business.

"Over coming weeks, and in conjunction with the purchaser, we will manage the transition of the business to the new owners, Black Hops Craft Pty Ltd," says Heenan.

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