It sounds like they had been getting a lot of returned beer. Bad for your reputation and also costly.
"The difficulties connected with their products — the beers they had sent out — had added very much to their misfortunes. They had been obliged to come to the decision to change the head of their brewing establishment, and accordingly Mr. Hutton, who had been for some time in the service of Messrs Younger, of Edinburgh, was appointed head of the brewing department. It was early days yet for them to state whether the experiment had been absolutely satisfactory, but, as far as they were able to judge, he believed it would prove so. Their last report from their chief London agent was extremely satisfactory, for it stated that there were at present practically no complaints, that the percentage of “returns" was the lowest for many years, and that they heard almost daily that their beers were giving great satisfaction. They were also most anxious to put the distributing department upon the best footing they could. They regretted that their London agent, Mr. Parker, who had served the company so long, had sent in his resignation, but they had not the least doubt that under the management of the gentlemen who had been appointed in Mr. Parker‘s stead the London department would be imbued with all the vigour which was necessary if they were to succeed in their business. They had placed only £76,000 of Five per Cent. Debenture stock out of the £400,000 which they had been empowered to raise, and, after due consideration, they had come to the conclusion that the cost of obtaining fresh capital at the present moment would be too great to enable them to make a profit on it. They were not in want of any fresh capital at the moment. With respect to the future, it would be very dangerous for him to prophesy in any way as to the course of their business next year. He regretted that he had not been able to go into minute details concerning their business, but it would have been very unwise for him to have done so in the face of the competition and opposition to which their trade was subject."William Younger was a well respected brewery. It looks like Alsopp headhunted him. To replace your head brewer was a very drastic move. I wonder where the old one went?
"The Brewers' Guardian 1892", 1892, page 244.
It sounds like Alsopp was having a lot of beer returned. This was not only bad for the firm's reputation but also expensive. Customers expected to be reimbursed for beer that was unsaleable.
"Commercially sensitive" is a common excuse for not making material public today. It seems to have a long history. More likely that the predictions for the next year weren't good and they didn't want to scare the investors. Or they could just have had no idea what was going to happen and no plan. The management doesn't seem to have been very proficient.
It didn't help that many of the Allsopp family took the money they made from the flotation and ran, leaving others to run the business. It tells you much about what they considered the future propects of the brewery.
Next we'll be hearing the reaction of the shareholders. They weren't happy bunnies. They'd expected to do well out of their investment but were feeling duped.