Scottish craft brewer goes bust as lockdown and Brexit take their toll

A Morayshire craft brewer that had built up a loyal following for its distinctive beers has fallen into administration amid hospitality and Brexit headwinds.

Wooha Brewing Company, which is based in Kinloss, was founded in 2015 by Heather McDonald. It had built a substantial export business for its range of craft beers and regular seasonal releases.

Eye-catching brand names such as Roch N’ Rol, Hop Stampede and Jenny from the Bock helped the business secure trade partnerships across a growing number of markets including China, Russia, Italy, Finland, Israel and the US.

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The administration is said to have been caused by “unsustainable” cash flow problems arising from the rapid contraction of the global hospitality and licensed trade industry and costs for exporters arising from Brexit

Wooha Brewing Company, which is based in Kinloss, was founded in 2015 and had built a substantial export business for its range of craft beers and regular seasonal releases.
Wooha Brewing Company, which is based in Kinloss, was founded in 2015 and had built a substantial export business for its range of craft beers and regular seasonal releases.

Since 2017, Wooha Brewing has been operating from a purpose-built 16,000-square-foot facility in Kinloss with the capacity to support fast-growing demand.

Since its inception, the business has raised £2.3 million from private investors which included a high-profile crowd-funding campaign. The investment helped create the infrastructure required to support an expanding export business and finance a major rebranding.

Iain Fraser and Tom MacLennan, partners with FRP, have been appointed joint administrators.

Fraser said: “Wooha Brewing Company is a high-profile craft brewing business with a substantial and growing trade and consumer client base. The business had grown rapidly in recent years, was well financed, and had a clear strategy and positioning in a crowded market.

“The business has unfortunately been severely affected by a combination of Covid, the contraction of its main markets and the bureaucracy of Brexit. Despite every effort by the directors to keep the business trading and ensure the company would be able to capitalise on the recovery when it comes, the severe financial problems meant that administration was the only option.

“Unfortunately, 12 members of staff have been made redundant with immediate effect, with two staff being retained to assist with the administration process.

“We will be working closely with the Redundancy Payments Service and other agencies to minimise the impact on the staff. We will also be looking to sell the business and assets, either in whole or in part as quickly as possible.”

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