Just days after Epic Brewing went in liquidation, another Auckland brewery is on the ropes, with Brothers Beer going into voluntary administration.

Stephen White and John Fisk of PwC New Zealand were appointed as voluntary administrators of Brothers Beer Holdings Limited, Brothers Beer Limited and Brothers Wholesale Limited (the “Group”) on Monday, August 7.

Epic went into liquidation on July 26.

The Brothers group operates a craft brewery and wholesale business that primarily supplies domestic supermarkets and liquor stores, as well as seven pubs and hospitality outlets across Auckland. It employs approximately 70 staff.

Earlier this year Brothers, majority-owned by Anthony Browne, said it was selling off its seven venues to put capital into the brewing side of the business.

PwC’s White said in a statement that Brothers’ expansion of the hospitality side of the business resulted in a severe hit during the Covid-19 pandemic era.

“In the three or so years preceding Covid-19, Brothers Beer embarked upon a significant expansion programme where the number of hospitality outlets increased from one to six, with a seventh opening since then. The subsequent challenges for the hospitality sector associated with the Covid-19-related lockdowns have been well publicised, and there’s no doubt that these had a significant impact on the Group’s financial position.”

“Our job as administrators will be to work closely with the Group’s key stakeholders to explore whether there’s a restructure solution that will be able to stabilise the Group’s financial position and reposition the business to be sustainable into the future. Having been operating for more than 10 years, the Brothers Beer brand is well-established and well-regarded in the sector, so we’re hopeful this can be achieved. However, it is likely that a number of the hospitality outlets will unfortunately have to close. At this stage, we can confirm that the Group’s wholesale distribution will continue, and the Mount Eden and Piha venues will remain open during the administration, so we look forward to continuing to serve the Group’s customers.”

The administrators will be briefing staff and contacting customers, suppliers and other stakeholders in the following days to update them on the impact of the administration and outline the process.

“We hope to be in a position to present a credible restructure proposal for creditors to vote on at a watershed meeting within the next month. The objective will be to deliver a better outcome for them than if the Group is simply liquidated,” White added.