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

Andrew Morgan founded the business as a concession at a farmers’ market in Kent back in 2010. 

It developed into a small chain of independent beer merchants, with stores in London, Canterbury and Margate.

Optimism and ambition abounded after it raised £400,000 in a crowdfunding drive in 2017, with plans afoot to open two new retail sites in London.

However, wholesale was the larger side of the business and it lost a couple of key contracts. It has since struggled to stay afloat in a competitive market and administrators were today appointed to handle the liquidation of the business.

“We came incredibly close to agreeing an offer that would have not only saved the business but given us a very bright future but it didn’t happen,” said Morgan. “As the director, I had a legal obligation to discuss our finances with an insolvency firm once the deal fell through and today’s news is the result.

“Having succeeded on Crowdcube in 2017, we saw a major supplier drop us shortly afterwards and took 23% of our wholesale business with them. This was a torpedo blow to our forecasts and though the team valiantly and brilliantly battled to overcome this, when another top-three brewery dropped us with no notice last year, it didn’t help our situation.

 “We brought on a consultant to help with this and quickly realised the extent of the financial legacy we were carrying from the breweries we’d lost. I set about finding a partner and came incredibly close to announcing something very positive but it wasn’t to be.

“This is small consolidation for those who are left with debts outstanding from the business. I know it’s going to have a knock-on effect within the industry and it’s a very tough environment for everyone out there.

“Having devoted over eight years of my life to this, being the biggest shareholder and lent the business money, I’m not immune to the reality of this situation but we all make choices and sometimes they don’t work out.

“However, as one Bottle Shop ex-employee said as they left the building, ‘at least nobody’s died’, which has stuck with me as something that I have to remember.

“We made a lot of people very happy since 2010 and hope that whoever ends up buying the business carries on our desire to burn brightly and never settle for anything other than the best. Huge thanks to everyone who helped on our journey – staff, customers and breweries. We had some great times and it’s incredibly sad for us to end like this.”