Hardknott Ceasing Production

Things don’t sound good for Hardknott. Due to cease production in May/June…

I have said a few times the number of new breweries in the UK is unsustainable.

Here in rural Shropshire we currently have 24 breweries, the population isn’t large enough to make them all a living. 2/3rd’s of the pubs are ‘tied’ and don’t sell local brews, the remaining 1/3rd are swamped by phone calls every week from salespeople/brewers all selling their wares, with maybe one lucky local brewery getting their beers through the door of each pub. It’s difficult selling your beer, even if it’s wonderful, everyone is ‘discounting’ in some way or other to try and get sales up in a ‘shrinking market’.


That’s the key point, I’d say. Making a decent living, let alone getting rich, is the preserve of very few. On the other hand, if you’re a “lifestyle” brewer or a part-timer you’ve got a better chance of making a go of it. Mind you, it’s probably always been that way ever since micros started to spring up. The difference is that, these days, if you’ve got alternative sources of income and some spare cash you don’t need to be making much of a return to beat what you can get from savings accounts. But, if you’re borrowing money to get set up and expecting to get a decent living on top of that I’d imagine you’re likely to struggle.

Shame this as I always enjoyed Dave Hardknott’s blog, but I do feel they fell somewhere between the trad and craft brackets and suffered as a result. Can’t say I was ever that impressed with the beer and indeed I haven’t had one since I had a bottle of theirs ‘gush’ everywhere at a BYO Thai restaurant in south London.

Damn. I like them. Really sorry to hear and hope everyone involved lands on their feet

So the fact that Morrisons sold their beers didn’t make it sustainable?

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Funnily enough, I had a similar reaction when someone told me that Redwell were having money problems.

Similarly never saw much Atom beer at my local Asda until it appears on the bargain shelf for £1 A can.

Maybe irs awareness but there definitely seems to be a lot more of these in last 5 years up here.
People who can not be making a living.

Probably makes up 10percent of Scottish breweries

I think there’s very little profit in supermarkets. They help with scale and economies of scale but you make little per unit

That’s what I was wondering. They screw the dairy farmers, why not brewers.

The bigger Supermarkets screw all their suppliers, we used to do own labels for many of them and without exception they take every penny they can from you, particularly when they want to do promotions which they make you fund. If you can avoid having to go through the big Supermarkets you should, they will soon come calling if you are selling volume without them you can then arrange your own terms, it’s when you become reliant on them that they have you.

Well, yes - but a brewery rep friend of mine told me he was still turning a profit (a small one, presumably!) on 99p bottles going through Aldi. And it’s good for getting your name out and keeping your brewers busy.

Yeah that what i meant by helps with Scale. Profits are tiny but its extra profit you wouldnt have offsetting some costs.

and yeah BD did it superb. Big name. people buyign punk in Tesco at little or no profit are buying punk in the Bars

Big “meh” from this direction. First beer I had from them was an off impy, next encounter was an article written by the head brewer where he came over as having a head bigger than the barrels he fills, which immediately told me I should not be charitable when it comes to future beers (the off impy I definitely overrated). Fortunately, he made the handing out of mediocre scores very easy, with his gushers and battery acid.

I guess being in the arse end of nowhere hasn’t really helped either, looking at google maps they are at least an hour the wrong side of the M6 deep into Cumbria. Just checked my ratings and was surprised I’d rated as many as 14 of their beers. Everything is between 3.0 & 3.6 so they haven’t really done anything wrong but then have also failed to really excite me. Will be interesting to see what the Gazza (Hopcraft) Sue (Waen) collaboration turns out like.