While the brewery’s chief executive and founder, Paul Greetham, was ‘very sad’ to close the site, he said there was ‘no chance’ it would have opened in the wake of the tsunami of problems encountered by the sector over the years.
Like many businesses, the brewery began to struggle during Covid. According to Greetham, the initial shock of the drop from normal sales to zero was “terrible”, but there were support mechanisms such as furlough and subsidy applications that insulated businesses from the initial impact of the pandemic.
Despite this, the lockdowns, shutdowns, various restrictions in place, and constant closings and openings at fairly short notice have wrecked the business. The brewery found itself either massively overloaded or understaffed.
“It was almost like a constant rush to pivot into the required position regardless of the situation at the time,” Greetham said.
2022 has come with a whole new host of problems. A few large orders failed for the company, and the Omicron Covid variant ruined the Christmas trade. Added to this were rising transport costs and staff shortages, which Greetham said were the “last straw”.
No money for everyone
“The cost of living crisis is skyrocketing, so everyone is paying more for utilities and food, which means people have less money,” he said. “The rising cost of beer is going up, and there has to be a margin somewhere, and unfortunately for the brewery, we seem to have hit the jackpot.
“There just isn’t enough money for everyone right now. It got to the point where we couldn’t really see ourselves as valuable anymore, so we had a responsibility to others to stop trading .
Closing the brewery had been on the back of Greetham’s mind for a while. During Covid, the business was in survival mode, but price increases had “slowly eroded confidence”.
“Even if you sold, and even if you sold well, and even if you could leverage any product, the costs involved were just too high,” he said.
Devastated but relieved
The brewery was a passion project of 10 years in the making. Greetham started brewing beer at home, working it alongside a day job in London, moving into production, coming to Manchester and founding the physical brewery in 2017. He then transformed the small site into a medium-sized brewery that exported beers to approximately nine global markets.
Understandably, Greetham was “very sad” to close the brewery with its equally “devastated” team. On the other hand, he was also relieved, because he could finally detox from the constant state of stress he had been in for the past two years.
Despite this, owning the brewery had also been an “absolute joy” for Greetham. Highlights included growing the team, creating “incredible” barrel-aged beers and seeing the business thrive.
Greetham also said he was proud to have used his homebrewing skills, which were “average at best”, and to see Beatnikz Republic grow from an unskilled one-man brewery making from “proper beers”, to something that a lot of people love, and something that’s infinitely better than it was before.
However, would he go through it again knowing what he would have to go through? His answer: “No chance”.