Popular Utrecht brewery goes bankrupt, but optimism remains for a restart
De Leckere was declared bankrupt on Thursday. The popular Utrecht brewery buckled under a delayed relocation that ended up happening shortly before the pandemic, labor shortages, and increasingly expensive raw materials. But there is a lot of enthusiasm for a restart, bankruptcy administrator Aniek Gielen told RTL Nieuws.
The bankruptcy only affects the brewery, not the cafe under the same name.
De Leckere, founded in Utrecht in 1997, achieved a turnover of almost 6 million euros last year. It describes itself as “the most sustainable brewery in the Netherlands,” making organic beers without using fossil fuels.
The brewery moved from Utrecht to nearby De Meern in 2001 because it could brew more beer at the new location. The demand for De Leckere beers continued to grow, and in 2018, the brewer moved back to Utrecht to an even larger brewery in the Werkspoorfabriek.
In retrospect, that move laid the foundation for the bankruptcy. It was delayed several times and ended up more expensive than expected, the directors told Gielen. The move may have worked out, but just over a year later, the coronavirus pandemic struck. For the next two years, catering establishments were forced to close several times during lockdowns, taking away De Leckere’s biggest customer.
De Leckere entered the coronavirus crisis with “quite large debts,” which were exacerbated when they had to start repaying deferred taxes after the pandemic, the directors told Gielen. “They couldn’t pay the rent. Actually, they were drowning in their debts,” Gielen concluded. “Staff shortage sand raw materials gave the final push.”
But there seems to be a good chance for a restart, the bankruptcy administrator added. There is a lot of interest from the market to continue De Leckere. “Dozens of candidates” have come forward in the past two days.
Gielen will talk with all the parties involved and help figure out the best way forward for the brewery.