Major New Zealand craft brands Liberty and 8 Wired have been hit by the shock news their distributor Quench Collective has gone into liquidation.
Owned by Hawke’s Bay winery Sacred Hill, Quench owes unsecured creditors $3.16 million, the first liquidator’s report says.
Sacred Hill’s majority owner David Mason told Stuff he was confident most creditors would be paid.
The published liquidators report by Colin Owens and David Webb of Deloitte said the company had debts totalling nearly $4 million, of which $829,000 was owed to secured creditors, $1.38 owed to unsecured creditors and $1.78 in intercompany loans.
The company had assets worth nearly $1.9m leaving a shortfall to creditors of $2.1m before the costs of liquidation, the report said.
Mason said it had made 14 staff plus 10 part-time merchandise roles redundant.
The liquidators’ report included a list of about 200 known creditors including numerous supermarkets, alcohol shops and brewers including 8 Wired, Liberty and prominent cider maker Zeffer.
Soren Eriksen of 8 Wired said the liquidation had affected his business but not too badly.
“We were going to exit anyway this year, so this just speeds up the process. The biggest issue is the money they owe but that won’t sink the ship and hopefully we’ll at least get something,” Eriksen told Brews News.
Christina Wood, who owns Liberty Brewing with her husband Joseph, told Stuff she was “scrambling around” trying to manage distribution channels for Liberty’s product herself.
“It’s been very challenging.”
She said stores and supermarkets that they sold through had helped the brewery keep stock on shelves. “But it’s still a bit of a nightmare and communication has been really poor out of Quench Collective. It’s been incredibly frustrating.”
Liberty had been receiving good bank support and its stable position meant it had been able to ride out the disruption, she said.
She would not say how much money it was owed by Quench Collective.