Protecting a duped brewery

Breweries often finance fittings and drink dispensing systems for bars that serve their beer, with the intention of recovering the investment gradually over a number of years. Sometimes though, if the bar owner decides to sell or the business doesn’t do well, the brewery can be left footing the bill.

A brewery came to me because one of their bar owners was planning to sell his company to someone who intended to change to a different brewery. They were not receiving payments and were being fobbed off with all kinds of tall stories, while substantial invoices for beer were still outstanding.

I quickly placed an attachment on the outgoing bar owner’s bank balance. Just in time, as he had just received the purchase monies and had even spent some of them already. The attachment also extended to the fittings and stock and this made it impossible for him to transfer the bar to the purchaser. Suddenly, the debtor was keen to talk about a quick solution after all. I discussed the matter with the other side while my client was on holiday and right there and then – after a telephone call to my client for consent – I made a deal with the other side, put it on paper, had it signed and informed the bank that the balance in the bank account should be transferred to my client account, following which all attachments were lifted immediately. If we had been two days later, the brewery wouldn’t have got any money at all. A good example of the way in which decisive legal action and working pragmatically to achieve an out of court settlement can go hand in hand.

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