We Brought Beer to close Clapham Junction store

We Brought Beer has been forced to bid farewell to its iconic store near Clapham Junction due to the landlord’s “unreasonable rent terms”.

James Hickson founded the business in 2014 when he opened its flagship store in Balham in a bid to capitalise on Londoners’ growing love of craft beer.

The Clapham store flung its doors open the following year and a third site was launched in Tooting.

The store in Clapham has delighted Londoners with several garden parties, food matching events and educational sessions over the past three years, but We Brought Beer will no longer be bringing beer to the good people of Battersea. It claimed the landlord wants to sell the site for personal reasons.

“This is absolutely not something we wanted to happen, we are devastated to be leaving such a great location, but it's a decision that has been forced upon us by our landlord,” the retailer announced.

Its lease ends next month and it will then close its doors. We Brought Beer hoped to negotiate a new deal to stay on, but it claimed the landlord decided to raise the rent from £17,000 per year to £36,000 and insert a clause taking away the automatic renewal at the end of any deal.

“What this means is that, however well the site trades, the landlord could come along at the end of the term and kick us out with no recourse from our end,” it reported. “This level of uncertainty makes things very difficult for any business in terms of having confidence to invest for the long term in that location.

“These two factors were a massive double whammy for us and have made a great site simply unviable. It was not a decision we took lightly and it wasn’t one we wanted to have to make.

In the past week, The Bottle Shop and Beer Boutique have both been forced to close down their businesses.

The Bottle Shop has called in the administrators and made all employees redundant after sales dipped “well under forecast” during the winter trading period.

Last year, Beer Boutique announced it was joining forces with We Brought Beer to create the largest specialist beer retailer in the UK, under the parent company name Two Heads Beer Co, with a total of six stores and plans to expand the business. 

But it has now been forced to go into voluntary liquidation and it will be closing all of its three stores with immediate effect.

The case of We Brought Beer is totally different, as it is not a result of poor trading, but it does point to a diminishing number of places for Londoners to buy intriguing craft brews.

However, Real Ale is opening a third store in Notting Hill this month.

The We Brought Beer stores in Balham and Tooting will continue trading and it may look at launching a third site somewhere else.

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