Former shareholders of a Berkshire brewery are up in arms after it was revealed that their perks will be taken away from them next month.

West Berkshire Brewery was brought by Yattendon Brewery Company in December after being placed into administration.

Crowdfunding was set up in 2020 after the Covid-19 pandemic adversely affected the company, with individuals invited to purchase shares from £10 to £25,000 to preserve jobs and grow the packing capabilities.

In return, the shareholders received discounts, brewery tours and beer subscriptions.

However, in a letter sent to shareholders, seen by the Reading Chronicle, the company said it will revoke those perks on February 28.

In a short statement to shareholders, interim CEO Andy Leeser explained that the business was sold to Yattendon Brewery Company on December 23 and so the Taproom is no longer owned by West Berkshire Brewery plc.

The letter continued: "Notwithstanding this change, we would like to honour your WBB shareholder discount cards in the Tap Room until the end of February 2022.

"You will be able to continue to redeem your discounts using your shareholder card in the Taproom Shop and Taproom & Kitchen until the end of February 2022 as a gesture of goodwill.

"Thereafter, unfortunately the WBB shareholder cards will no longer be valid."

This change has left former shareholders penniless and disappointed as they now have nothing to show for their investment almost two years ago.

Reading Chronicle:

Above: Crowdfunding supported a new packaging system


One former shareholder, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “I don’t want to go anywhere near that place now.

“Mine and other people’s money from nowhere has just gone, but that place continues, and it will make profits.

"That’s what happens when you get into investing, we know the risks and we sign them all off beforehand, but it leaves a bitter taste.

“I know I shouldn’t be bitter and want it to fail, but I really want it to fail- and that’s horrible as it was one of my favourite places.”

West Berkshire Brewery has been a staple of Berkshire life since 1995, and is now owned by Yattendon Estates, the landowners on which the brewery was built.


READ MORE: West Berkshire Brewery bought out by Newbury Weekly News owner


The anonymous shareholder also said they were bitterly disappointed, stating that he had lost the equivalent amount of a family holiday.

Over 1,600 supporters had raised more than £3m when crowdfunding, keeping the business afloat during the non-executive chairman, David Bruce, described as “devastating” pandemic.

In an accomanying letter, Mr Bruce stated: "I am mortified personally that our Company has finally succumbed to the devastating effects of the Covid-19 global pandemic on the U.K.’s brewing and hospitality industries.

He went on to explain how the company entered administration in December, describing it as "NOT the best of Christmas presents for any of us…" but went on to reveal that "our Company’s assets, brands and, most importantly, our loyal and hard-working staff have all been taken on by The Yattendon Brewing Company Ltd."

Despite the changes in ownership, shareholders are still bitter about the latest update.

The former shareholder added: “The £3m that we put in has been swamped up.

“It is existing, it is running, and it seems to be popular, so money is being made out of us small shareholders and suddenly we’re wiped and nothing to do with it.

“We’re local people and loyal customers, so it's a tough one to take.”

A statement from West Berkshire Brewery said: Yattendon Brewing Company bought some of the trade and assets of the West Berkshire Brewery on 23rd December 2021.

“We are obviously aware of the likely unfortunate consequences for those that invested in West Berkshire Brewery.

“As regards discounts for West Berkshire shareholders, Yattendon Brewing Company has voluntarily extended this scheme until 28thFebruary 2022.

“In the meantime we intend to put in place schemes to allow both local people and web customers to benefit from discounts and will announce these in due course.

“Yattendon Brewing Company is a local business and is pleased to have been able to protect a local community asset through this acquisition.”