Several brewers have spoken out against online beer retailer Bier Company, saying they are owed thousands of pounds in unpaid invoices.
Bier Company is the trading name of Bier Nuts, a business founded by Thomas Renshaw and Stefan White, who started out by selling bar snacks to pubs. When the pandemic hit, the pair pivoted to online beer sales and a subscription club. The founders were featured in many news articles in summer 2022, heralding their “£10 million beer company”.
But relationships with the trade have soured, as several brewers raised concerns over unpaid bills.
Yeastie Boys founder Stu McKinlay said his business is owed around £17,000 from a £27,000 order going back to 2021.
“Their last order from us was in late 2021, previous to which they’d purchased a couple of times and cleared all their debts,” he told Drinks Retailing. “They ordered £27,000 worth of stock and took many months of hassling them – plus a letter of demand – to make any payment on that. They only paid £5,000 and then disappeared again.”
After further chasing, McKinlay said he received another £5,000 payment.
He, along with other businesses and consumers, have now called the company out on social media.
Richard Archer, managing director at Utopian Brewing, said his company is owed over £22,000 for a series of invoices dating back to last summer.
“Some of these beers were packed into cans with bespoke labels which had added incremental costs,” he said. Archer said he decided to pull a large part of the final shipment of around 40,000 cans in November as he was “very nervous about the state of affairs”.
He said he was left with excess stock that required discounting to shift “which is not something we like to do”.
Rich Wallace, head brewer at Trailhead, said his company provided 4,000 cans of beer to Bier Company in November 2022. The invoice, for just over £4,000, remains unpaid.
“It’s really tough for brewers at the moment,” Wallace said. “I have energy bills to worry about. We don’t need this as well.”
McKinlay added: “I realise that a lot of businesses are struggling right now but the lack of communication and the inability to even attempt to stick to the payment plan, or let us know when it had to change, was the thing that really irks. Especially when we’re here actually paying our bills and having to reduce our own headcount because we don’t think they – and others – are ever going to pay.”
Drinks Retailing has contacted Bier Company for comment.