Temple Brewing permanently closes doors; Black Hops bought by investors

May 15, 2024
By Cody Profaca

Temple Brewing announces permanent closure

Melbourne-based beer brand Temple Brewing has revealed that it will be permanently ceasing to operate after 10 years of trade. In a statement issued to media, the independent brewery has indicated that it “will appoint a liquidator shortly to manage the closure of its operations on or about 23 May 2024.”

As seems to be a recurring trend, Temple Brewing Company has attributed its current economic situation to the contracting market.

“The wholesale business has been severely affected by the downturn in sales volumes. Continued trading in this environment is no longer possible,” said Temple Brewing in its statement. 

“Trading in the brewpub has also experienced a downturn as many of our customers face limited or reduced spending capacities.”

Temple Brewing’s Brunswick East Brewpub will continue to operate up until this Sunday 19 May. To help move through stock, it will be offering 40% off all drinks and food both via the brewpub and through its online store right up until its doors are permanently shut.

“Temple wishes to express its gratitude to all its customers, both wholesale as well as our brewpub patrons for their support over these many years.”

Black Hops Brewing purchased by consortium of existing shareholders 

Black Hops Brewing has been bought by a consortium of investors following a voluntary administration process that started towards the end of March

The sale, announced yesterday 14 May, came at a crucial moment for the independent brewery, with the appointed Deloitte administrators indicating that a final decision on the future of the business was to be put in place today at the now-adjourned second meeting of creditors. 

In a Deloitte report published on 7 May, the extent of the financial difficulties of the business was highlighted. This included a $7 million debt to creditors and the belief that Black Hops might have been trading insolvent from as early as 1 December 2022. 

The Deloitte report concluded that the company should be put into liquidation: “there is no proposed DOCA and we do not recommend the administration ends as the Company is insolvent, we are of the opinion that it would be in the creditors best interests that the Company be wound up.”

However, a deal has been made two days ahead of the big decision day. According to the Deloitte report, it is likely that further penalties for trading whilst insolvent might still apply.

“A cause of action for trading whilst insolvent may potentially exist against the current and former directors of the Company, however, further investigations are required should a liquidator be appointed to the Company,” said the report.

The total value of the Black Hops remains undisclosed. 

The financial woes of Black Hops predate the December 2022 timeline, with the brewery crowdfunding $400,000 in January 2019, becoming one of the first Australian breweries to equity crowdfund in the process. 

“We are happy to be one of the first breweries to do equity crowdfunding in Australia and we hope we can show that it can be a legitimate funding source for new breweries,” said Co-Founder Dan Norris at the time.

“We want to see the industry grow and the only way that’s going to happen is if we get more breweries. Building a brewery is expensive so having this open means another way people might go about funding the build.” 

Ongoing craft beer crisis

The news of Temple Brewing and Black Hops follows on from an ongoing trend that has seen more than 12 independent Australian breweries enter into voluntary administration over the past 18 months. 

Just last week, Deeds Brewing also announced that it will be permanently closing its doors.

This interview with Kylie Lethbridge, CEO of the Independent Breweries Association, explains in greater depth the underlying causes of craft beer’s current economic crisis.

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