Saturday, 29 September 2012

English Lager Beer Brewery unsold

Remember that the English Lager Beer Brewery Company effectively paid £47,000 for the brewery in Batheaston. It looks like it was worth nothing like that. In fact, it looks like it was worth almost nothing.

The liquidator seemed to be unable to shift the thing, despite his best efforts.

Mr. Newstead, the liquidator, has issued to the shareholders a circular which contains the following :— Since my report, dated October 31st, 1893, I have co-operated with the first mortgagees in an attempted sale by auction of the freehold brewery and premises at Batheaston, as a going concern The attempt to effect a sale by auction entirely failed, there being no bidding of any kind. I then considered it advisable to allow the property to remain in the hands of the auctioneers, Messrs. Alexander Daniel Selfe and Co., in the hope that they might effect a sale by private treaty at an adequate price, but they have reported to me that they have been quite unable to find a purchaser.

I desire to take the opinion of those most directly interested, viz., the creditors and shareholders, upon the adoption of the only two alternatives that present themselves. These are : 1. —To sell the plant and utensils, admittedly belonging to me, as liquidator, separately from the brewery for what they will fetch ; or, 2.—To allow the matter to remain in abeyance for a further period, in the hope that a purchaser may be found,

I propose to ask the creditors and shareholders to authorise me to apply to the Court for its sanction to the following course :— I.—That I give the mortgagees an option for, say twenty-one days of acquiring my interest in the brewery fittings and utensils, at a price to be fixed by Messrs. Alexander Daniel Selfe and Co. 2.—That, if this opinion be not accepted, I sell the articles admittedly belonging to me by public auction, either at the Brewery or elsewhere, leaving my interest in those which are doubtful to be dealt with when the question arises. 3.—That in the event of a purchaser being found pending these negotiations, I shall be authorised to concur in the sale of the Brewery as a going concern, upon the same terms as those which formed the basis of my concurrence in the attempted sale by auction.

With regard to the collection and realization of the other assets of the Company, I have to report that the beer, bottles, &c, have been sold for £100 and the proceeds paid into Court to the credit of the Paymaster- General, for and on behalf of the Supreme Court of Judicature, under order dated the 5th of September, 1893, pending a decision as to whether the Sheriff or myself, as liquidator, is entitled to the same; the book debts have so far realised £95 13s. 9d., and there seems little probability of much more coming in. With respect to the uncalled capital, viz., £2 per share, this was mortgaged to the National Bank of Wales, to the extent of £2,000. Immediately I had settled the list of contributories I made the £2 call, but it does not seem likely to realise sufficient to satisfy the mortgagees' claim. Of the calls in arrear I have recovered £20, and am now taking proceedings against shareholders for recovery of amounts due from them.
Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette - Thursday 23 August 1894, page 2.

I'm starting to think the whole enterprise was just a highly sophisticated fraud. There doesn't ever seem to have been much money in the company and, judging by the minimal amount of money recovered from debts, it doesn't look like they ever did much trading.

£100 for beer and bottles isn't much at all. A barrel of beer was worth around £2, which means there must have been fewer than 100 barrels. Not much for a brewery that boasted of being able to brew 100 barrels a day.

Getting back to the sale of the brewery, here's the desperate attempt of Selfe and Co. to offload it:

instructed by the Mortgagees and the Liquidator of the English Lager Beer Brewery Company. Limited, for IMMEDIATE SALE by PRIVATE TREATY at the very low price of Six Thousand Pounds (£6,000), the principally New, Extensive, aud Well-built
With the costly PLANT and MACHINERY, valuable Spring Water, stabling Outbuildings, Convenient Dwelling-house, Garden, and two Closes of Pasture Land, being about Two Acres, the whole being
The Property. with Plant and Machinery. Steam Engines, Boilers, &c., may be inspected by Orders to be obtained, with all further information, of the AUCTIONEERS, Bank Chambers, Corn Street, Bristol: or at Messrs .C. CLARKE & DOVEY, Accountants, Cardiff."
Western Daily Press - Saturday 17 March 1894, page 1.
There were no takers even at just £6,000. Why was that? Was the brewery really not worth anything? Or was it worth less because it was a Lager brewery?

Next we'll be learning more of some of the characters involved in the enterprise. What an odd bunch they are.

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