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How open communication on rent can save your business from eviction

Open communication between commercial landlords and brewery owners can help businesses avoid eviction amidst the pressures of the pandemic.

Following a judge giving Stone Brewing’s landlord the power to evict the brewer from its Napa taproom and brewery, parallels can be drawn with UK craft brewers who have also juggled rent situations of their own during the crisis. The consensus, however, is firmly on showing a willingness to pay whenever feasibly possible.

Speaking to db, North Brewing Co co-founder Christian Townsley said: “We have a couple of ace landlords who’ve been very accommodating and it’s a two-way street. When we felt we were in a position to pay full rent, we did just that.”

Regarding the Stone eviction, Townsley said: “It’s easy to knee jerk, but it also depends on the communication” revealing that some landlords can be supportive and understanding advocates for your business, while others can show no interest whatsoever.

The property landlord for Stone Brewing, West Pueblo Partners reportedly moved to evict Stone claiming that the brewery owed, at the time, approximately US$211,000 in unpaid rent dating back to November 2020. However, according to industry sources, Stone had claimed that it couldn’t pay its rent at the same time that it had successfully expanded the brewery business elsewhere. Whether Stone had the fiscal-cladding or not ha, however, been left unconfirmed.

Sources within the beer industry revealed: “They [Stone] never seem to have any money. There are lots of rumours. There’s more to this, definitely, but only time will tell us who was in the right.”

Comparatively, North Brewing Co, which also tackled a tricky situation where, despite lockdowns during the pandemic, saw its business still being billed for rent at one of its lockdown-closed venues chose to swallow the costs all while trying to expand its operations elsewhere.

Townsley admitted: “ We had one landlord who was awful and if we could chuck the keys back today we would, but we have personal guarantees on the lease so would have to pay the rent for 10 years regardless.”

But, according to Townsley, despite one person being unfavourably unfair during the crisis, for North, things are very different at its new brewery and taproom site Springwell, where the powers of having “open communication” and geniality have led the way.

“Our landlord at Springwell has been amazing. We hadn’t actually signed the lease when L1 kicked off, but good, open communication and we signed it before L1 was over,” Townsley explained, reminding that maintaining the relationship between premises landlords, breweries and publicans is still imperative to the success of any business, irrespective of debating who is in the right or wrong.

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