Buxton Axe Edge

Buxton made a lost of more than £200k in the 12 months to the end of March 2023

Buxton Brewery has been sold in pre-pack administration deal to a company known as ‘Happy Place Investors’.

The deal would safeguard “the future of the brewery and the group’s taprooms and bars in Buxton and the employment of all circa 50 members of staff”, according to insolvency firm Interpath Advisory, which advised on the sale.

Buxton “experienced financial pressures in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, which were then exacerbated in more recent times by high-cost inflation and increases to interest rates”, Interpath said.

Its directors had sought to explore “options for sale and investment” but “with creditor pressure mounting” signalled intent to appoint administrators earlier this month, it added.

Buxton Brewery Company Limited and Axe Edge Bars Limited were placed into administration by Rick Harrison and Howard Smith from Interpath Advisory and “certain parts of the business and assets of the group” were immediately sold to Happy Place Investors Limited.

The Grocer understands the transaction includes Buxton’s brewery and intellectual property and taprooms, which will continue to operate.

Happy Place Investors’ directors are Jeremy Middleton, the former CEO of marketing services agency Media Square and ex-chair of Hangar Seven, and Arthur Middleton. The pair – thought to be local to Buxton – are yet to formally comment on the acquisition.

Harrison, managing director at Interpath Advisory and joint administrator, said: “Independent craft brewers have had to navigate a number of headwinds in recent times, not least the long-term impact of the pandemic, as well as the impact of inflation on raw material costs.

“We’re therefore pleased to have concluded this transaction which safeguards the future of this well-regarded craft ale brand and its collection of popular taphouses in Buxton. We wish the purchaser and all of the team at Buxton Brewery all the best for the future.”

Buxton Brewery’s managing director Dom Metcalfe added: “I am incredibly pleased that we have found an outcome that allows us to safeguard jobs and allow us to continue the legacy of Buxton Brewery. Recent times have been very challenging for the company despite a significant upturn in demand in the past few months. With new investment and a renewed focus, we can now push on towards a brighter future.”

Buxton Brewery was founded by Geoff Quinn in 2009, initially as a cuckoo brewing outfit. It now operates from a 7,000 sq ft brewery just outside the town of Buxton, where it also runs two bars.

Unaudited accounts filed by the business for the 12 months to the end of March 2023 showed it made a loss of £215,000, against a profit of £185,000 a year earlier.

Its beers are stocked in Asda, Morrisons and Tesco.