Morayshire craft beer firm WooHa Brewing bought out of administration

WooHa Brewing Company has been acquired by new firm North Coast Brewing Co, for an undisclosed sum, after falling into administration in March.

The acquired Morayshire-based firm joins the portfolio run by Kenny Webster that includes Isle of Skye Brewing Co and Black Wolf Brewery together with several artisan beer brands and links with key trade, wholesale and export markets. He plans to soon restart WooHa Brewing Company production and consequently create jobs.

Isle of Skye Brewing says it has been trading since 1995 and supplies major supermarkets/pub groups along with export.

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The business also recently launched Skye Gin, with all products now on sale from an onsite shop, via a growing online business and to an expanding retail and trade customer base mainly across the UK.

WooHa Brewing is billed as having a range of quality brands and an established network of trade and consumer customers. Picture: contributed.

Tom MacLennan and Iain Fraser, partners with advisory firm FRP, have sold the business, assets and goodwill of WooHa Brewing Company, after it went into administration with the loss of 12 jobs. FRP at the time cited “unsustainable cashflow problems arising from the rapid contraction of the global hospitality and licensed trade industry and the well-documented problems and costs for exporters arising from Brexit”.

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The craft brewer was founded in 2015, boasted product names such as Hop Stampede and Jenny from the Bock, and last year announced a rebrand and launch of new products. It had invested in a 16,000-square-foot facility in Kinloss, and was developing its sales both in the UK and overseas – with trade partnerships across the likes of China, Russia, USA, Italy, Finland and Israel.

It had also developed an expanding trade and online domestic business, securing agreements with brands such as Wetherspoons, Ocado, Amazon Prime and growing direct-to-consumer sales from its own website.

Furthermore, the business had since its inception raised £2.3 million from private investors, including a crowdfunding campaign.

Mr Webster said: “We are delighted to have secured a deal with FRP and look forward to incorporating the brands and assets of Wooha Brewing Company into our new company North Coast Brewing Co.

Ambitions

"We have ambitious plans to grow, and the acquisition provides us with access to high-quality production facilities, a range of quality brands, and an established network of trade and consumer customers. We hope to restart brewing at our new site very soon and, as the business develops, we hope to create a number of jobs. We will keep WooHa’s customers updated via social media.”

Iain Fraser, partner with FRP and joint administrator said: “We are very pleased to have secured a sale to North Coast Brewing Co. The businesses associated with the director have a strong record of consistent innovation and Isle of Skye Brewing is one of the most recognisable craft beer businesses in the UK.

"We wish the management team and staff every success as they integrate the former Wooha Brewing Company into their business model and with their forward plans for further expansion.”

WooHa Brewing Company was established by US-born Heather McDonald, whose background was in financial management and virology. Last year she explained: “From our base in Moray, I knew the Speyside water that’s used to make some of Scotland’s best whiskies would help brew some flavoursome beer and I’ve used my knowledge of science to inspire each brew.”

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