Squawk Brewing to wind down operations

25 January 2024 by
Squawk Brewing to wind down operations

Manchester-based Squawk Brewing Company will close its doors at the end of March, according to founder Oliver Turton.

Network Rail is buying the land that Squawk operates on in order to upgrade the Transpennine route, and the brewing firm's landlord has served notice on the premises.

However, Turton told The Caterer that this was "the last straw" for the business, which has faced rising costs due to the pandemic, the impact of Brexit, the Ukraine war's effect on grain prices and its utility bills increasing by £8,000 a month.

Squawk Brewing has aimed to retain its small, independent status since it was established in 2013, but Turton said this philosophy was at odds with the business choices he currently faces.

"Moving to a different premises would have been too expensive," he said. "Previously I made all the strategic moves that I could – we expanded just to stay the same, financially. Now, I can borrow and get into lots of debt to make the company bigger and move, or just call it a day."

As the firm's newly qualified apprentice left at Christmas, it was only left with three permanent staff.

"It just became a monster where I had to work people unreasonably hard to survive and my soul can't cope with it," Turton said. "Since we started in 2013 we have only had a small staff turnover because I really have tried to look after people. I am now trying to help my employees to find new jobs."

Turton said all Squawk's bills would be paid before he winds the business down. He used a government bounceback loan to buy a canning machine during the pandemic but will now sell the equipment to recoup further costs.

Squawk supplies its beers to on-trade distributors across the country, selling around 600 kegs a month.

The Pelican taproom in Manchester, which Turton also runs, will remain operational, but without offering Squawk's beers. Turton said his focus will now be on the taproom business.

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