Save Beer Rebellion - we need your help!

The place for serious discussion, announcements and breaking news about Sydenham

Moderator: frenzarin

biscuitman1978
Posts: 1588
Joined: 16 May 2006 20:14
Location: Chislehurst; previously Sydenham

Save Beer Rebellion - we need your help!

Post by biscuitman1978 »

BeerRebellion wrote:Hi peoples,

A bit of sad news - as from today [6 February 2017] Ben Hopkinson has closed the Sydenham Beer Rebellion. It simply wasn't doing the turnover he wanted to motivate him keeping it open.

He has however given us a week to try and raise the necessary capital to re-open the bar and keep the Rebellion alive.

So this is where we are:

We need to find a minimum of £15,000 to take on a new 10 year lease, purchase the assets and set up a formal structure. I have had a number of positive meetings with locals, but as they say, this is where the rubber meets the road.

We are looking for 15-20 people to each put in £1000. They will each have equal shares in a new company, with equal voting rights as to how the bar is run. We will meet quarterly (and will no doubt vote a smaller group to be more actively involved), and go through trading figures and discuss operations. If there are dividends at the end of the year they will be shared, and if you need to leave the company we will offer them for sale at market value. But first and foremost the company exists to protect the magic that is the Rebellion, and our first task is to ensure that that magic continues and that we are able to support the Sydenham Community through arts, performance, events, damn good beer and great fun. When we have our core group we will sit together and write the articles of association and work out how best to move forward at speed.

I currently have 8 people that have confirmed they will participate, and I'm happy to meet with anyone who has questions, or to chat via phone or email.

If you are interested send me an email to matt@coalitionbrewing.co.uk with your contact details and I will be straight back in touch.

It would be a huge shame to see the Rebellion disappear from the fabric of Sydenham life - as a local I think we would all be much the poorer without it.

So fingers crossed we can make this happen!

Cheers!


Matthew
THE BEER REBELLION
Re-posted from the Town Cafe, as time is short and maximum exposure is needed if Beer Rebellion is to survive

Tim Lund
Posts: 6714
Joined: 13 Mar 2008 18:10
Location: Silverdale

Re: Save Beer Rebellion - we need your help!

Post by Tim Lund »

Is there any unprofitable business in Sydenham we should not be trying to save?

biscuitman1978
Posts: 1588
Joined: 16 May 2006 20:14
Location: Chislehurst; previously Sydenham

Save Beer Rebellion - we need your help!

Post by biscuitman1978 »

Tim Lund wrote:Is there any unprofitable business in Sydenham we should not be trying to save?
If you read the post carefully you’ll see it says that Beer Rebellion ‘wasn’t doing the turnover’ that the owner wanted to motivate him to keep it open. That’s not necessarily the same as being unprofitable, which is what your question presupposes.

I’m sure that any sensible potential investor will want to confirm that the business is profitable or that there is a reasonable prospect of it being so.

If you do want to discuss the issue you raise in your question, perhaps you’d be kind enough to create a new thread and leave this one to focus on Beer Rebellion.

monkeyarms
Posts: 285
Joined: 28 Jul 2015 14:54
Location: Tredown

Re: Save Beer Rebellion - we need your help!

Post by monkeyarms »

Tim Lund wrote:Is there any unprofitable business in Sydenham we should not be trying to save?
Yes, Budgens, by the sounds of it.

bensonby
Posts: 1650
Joined: 18 Jun 2008 12:28
Location: Kent

Re: Save Beer Rebellion - we need your help!

Post by bensonby »

It was an absolute rip off. Businesses aren't a charity: if they don't offer value then people vote with their feet. If it was about £1 a pint cheaper I might have spent my money there.

leenewham
Posts: 5886
Joined: 2 Sep 2007 11:58
Location: SYDENHAM
Contact:

Re: Save Beer Rebellion - we need your help!

Post by leenewham »

Tim Lund wrote:Is there any unprofitable business in Sydenham we should not be trying to save?
The Banks?

Tim Lund
Posts: 6714
Joined: 13 Mar 2008 18:10
Location: Silverdale

Re: Save Beer Rebellion - we need your help!

Post by Tim Lund »

biscuitman1978 wrote:
Tim Lund wrote:Is there any unprofitable business in Sydenham we should not be trying to save?
If you read the post carefully you’ll see it says that Beer Rebellion ‘wasn’t doing the turnover’ that the owner wanted to motivate him to keep it open. That’s not necessarily the same as being unprofitable, which is what your question presupposes.

I’m sure that any sensible potential investor will want to confirm that the business is profitable or that there is a reasonable prospect of it being so.

If you do want to discuss the issue you raise in your question, perhaps you’d be kind enough to create a new thread and leave this one to focus on Beer Rebellion.
As I am sure you realise, my point is the absurd preference some people have for rescuing licenced premises, here the Beer Rebellion. Yes, I do know the difference between turnover and profit, but I would be surprised if it really was lack of turnover rather than profit which was so demotivating.

Now, perhaps you would be kind enough here to explain why the Beer Rebellion should be saved, rather than any other local business with low turnover, and apparently without the wit to do something about it by reducing prices.

biscuitman1978
Posts: 1588
Joined: 16 May 2006 20:14
Location: Chislehurst; previously Sydenham

Save Beer Rebellion - we need your help!

Post by biscuitman1978 »

Tim Lund wrote:Now, perhaps you would be kind enough here to explain why the Beer Rebellion should be saved, rather than any other local business with low turnover, and apparently without the wit to do something about it by reducing prices.
I haven't said that it should. I was simply keen that Beer Rebellion was given the opportunity to get its message, i.e. its request for new investment, out to a wider audience. As it was, their message was tucked away in the Town Cafe section.

I would have done the same for many other businesses, licenced or otherwise, though I am more inclined to do so for those which have, in my eyes, made a positive contribution to Sydenham.

If Beer Rebelliion is not a viable business, so be it. But if it is, it would be rather sad if it failed simply because potential investors were not aware of the opportunity.

leenewham
Posts: 5886
Joined: 2 Sep 2007 11:58
Location: SYDENHAM
Contact:

Re: Save Beer Rebellion - we need your help!

Post by leenewham »

Businesses like the Beer Rebellion have a future on high streets and they are a growing trend.

Like all businesses, they need to be in the right place, have the right marketing, have the right brand, the right products, understand their market. The Beer rebellion is in an extremely challenging position, but it is rewarded by cheaper rent.

It's incredibly simplistic to say that the issue is just their prices, just like it is to think that because it didn't fulfill the expectations the first time, that it can't flourish in the future. It's a good job that Richard Branson didn't think like that (but a shame that Donald Trump didn't). When the banks brought the world economy to its knees through sheer recklessness, they were all bailed out and didn't even pay us back.

The Ivy House succeeded, as have many other pubs and cafes which have become community run. There is very little in the night time economy in Sydenham, this is genuinely something different, it's one of the few Sydenham Businesses to make me venture into the high street at night. I hope it works and they get the elements right to flourish.

They deserve a second chance.

sparticus
Posts: 225
Joined: 25 Jan 2013 13:56

Re: Save Beer Rebellion - we need your help!

Post by sparticus »

Beer Rebellion is worth saving because it was/is an extremely pleasant place to drink beer. It suffered from a lack of investment and support from the successor management after the demise of Late Knights compared to their other bars in Gypsy Hill and Peckham. Given the woeful lack of decent boozers in Sydenham, and the success of similar bars elsewhere, there is no reason why BR couldn't succeed. Like all small bars/pubs, it will never make its investors a fortune, but with the cheap lease on offer there is no reason it couldn't be a sustainable business. It was somewhere where conversation could flourish, where the bar staff were friendly, where local musicians could perform and where a modest investment could transform into a very successful local amenity.

At £3.60 a pint, the cask ale was very competitive, and if people want to drink expensive "craft" beer then that too was available at prices that were less than being charged up the road in the Dolphin. Personally, I think a lot of them taste like grapefruit juice and are disgusting, but each to his/her own.

monkeyarms
Posts: 285
Joined: 28 Jul 2015 14:54
Location: Tredown

Re: Save Beer Rebellion - we need your help!

Post by monkeyarms »

I attended the early meetings about the possibility of running Beer Rebellion as a community-owned business. Would have carried on, only they met on a night that was impossible for me.

The 'community-owned' part is the main reason for the attempt to find shareholders/investment. So it's less about securing investment to prop up the existing Beer Rebellion, it's about re-launching it as a community-owned bar. Sure, it will continue to be a bar, and I won't disagree that there is a certain amount of overstating-the-case about 'value to the community' etc that a bar brings: a pub isn't a community centre or a hospital. Nevertheless, the idea was, at the meetings I attended, to end up with: a pub by night, and a family-friendly space by day, one which would be amenable to running regular useful events and workshops. Such things could be anything there was a demand for: regular drop-ins for local parents with young children; career advice/finding a job/interview workshops; language classes; art exhibitions; book clubs. Whatever. Such events have nothing to do with alcohol consumption.

The annual rent isn't very big - like most rents on the high street it is cheap for London. (From what I've seen, anyway.) It has some overheads that I'm not entirely sure I understand. But it ought to be possible to run a business there and make a small profit, at the same time as providing a new space on the high street for interesting events to happen.

My own impression and gut feeling is that BR previously simply wasn't making enough effort to bring people in. I suspect that other Beer Rebellions have been lucky enough to have occupied spaces with footfall (like the one slap-bang opposite Gipsy Hill station). Where Sydenham Beer Rebellion is, you need to provide reasons above and beyond simply drinking a pint on Monday-Thursday evenings. Things like live music/open mic night, quizzes etc. If I were running the place, personally I'd immediately want to make it inviting/appealing to daytime/teatime coffee trade. If I were a bit more flush right now I'd invest in it, if only to have a chance to try to put those ideas to the test.

alowersyd
Posts: 5
Joined: 10 Feb 2017 13:21
Location: SE26

Re: Save Beer Rebellion - we need your help!

Post by alowersyd »

I was tempted to respond to the request to invest. I did like BR but in recent months you could tell it was being neglected by its management. Some of the signs outside bordered on desperate (e.g. "wanted: customers"). There was a notable difference after the closure of Late Knights.

My concern in investment is that it's in the wrong location to be a thriving cool bar alone. As for a community space, it doesn't appeal to me because for me personally it's risky trying to mix profit from alcohol and a community space. I also find family spaces really stressful at times. This is all personal opinion, I'm not saying it couldn't be successful as a community space.

I'd would really really like to see BR live on. For this to happen, if it wants to be a hipster/cool bar it needs to move further up the high street. There is no question in this. I'm sure further up near the station it would thrive.

If BR wants to live on in it's current location, it has to up its marketing and have a clearer purpose. As per someone above, if it opened during the day perhaps as a working space cafe aimed at adults it could work. Increasingly there is growing demand for collaborative working space for home workers, self-employed or start-ups. It might be able to tap into this market.

monkeyarms
Posts: 285
Joined: 28 Jul 2015 14:54
Location: Tredown

Re: Save Beer Rebellion - we need your help!

Post by monkeyarms »

alowersyd wrote: I'd would really really like to see BR live on. For this to happen, if it wants to be a hipster/cool bar it needs to move further up the high street. There is no question in this. I'm sure further up near the station it would thrive. .
Well, undoubtedly that would help massively. But I'm not sure it is essential. I went in there one cold Friday night a few months after it opened and it was full, with a largely twentysomething crowd. And we ate a really good meal, priced not cheap, but at Antic Pub sort of prices. In fact, it was basically an Antic pub in all but name. The fact that it was that busy 4 or 5 months after it opened was a good sign and proof that its out-of-the-way location wasn't insurmountable. I think it rested on its laurels. It's bizarre that it never sorted out food – the idea of a bar that only does food on Fridays and Saturdays (and not even all Fridays and Saturdays) just seems anachronistic today – or that it never opened during the day, what with the mark-up on cups of coffee and tea alone.

JRobinson
Posts: 1104
Joined: 5 Jan 2010 12:40
Location: De Frene Rd

Re: Save Beer Rebellion - we need your help!

Post by JRobinson »

I'd like to help, but don't have £1k spare - maybe they'll accept two people sharing this (£500 each?).
I've been in there a few times and enjoyed it each time - it could be great!
yes, they should be open during the day for tea/coffee.
I wonder what the licencing is like - ie do they have a licence for music? they were playing music and they have music performances, but Wetherspoons seem to do incredibly well without an entertainment licence, and have no music, supposedly because it's a lot cheaper.

anyway, I've posted this request up on my facebook feed in the hope that local people that I know might see it and respond. I'd like to see it re-open.

monkeyarms
Posts: 285
Joined: 28 Jul 2015 14:54
Location: Tredown

Re: Save Beer Rebellion - we need your help!

Post by monkeyarms »

You don't need a license for live music anymore, the legislation changed a few years ago. There's a cut-off point, I think, in terms of audience numbers, but for live music in small venues the size of Beer Rebellion, there's no license required.

Wetherspoons don't pay the PRS license (Performing Rights Society, I think it stands for) , which isn't a huge amount of money per year, though I suppose it adds up if you've got a huge chain of hundreds of pubs. It's what you have to pay if you have recorded music playing in your place of business. Plenty of ordinary high-street businesses pay this (cafes, hairdressers etc), and most pubs do, because most pubs play recorded music.

JRobinson
Posts: 1104
Joined: 5 Jan 2010 12:40
Location: De Frene Rd

Re: Save Beer Rebellion - we need your help!

Post by JRobinson »

I emailed Matt, here is his reply

Hi Jon!

Thanks so much for making contact. The response has been amazing, and I think that we have upwards of 20 people that have offered to each put in £1k. At this stage we are keeping it to 1 person, 1 vote, 1 payment - but in spring I'd like us to do some crowd funding where we raise money for refurbishment. I'll definitely be back in contact then!

Thanks again for your offer of assistance - the locals have really come together on this one which is really gratifying.

Cheers

Matthew

Timbo79
Posts: 26
Joined: 30 May 2016 18:54
Location: Sydenham

Re: Save Beer Rebellion - we need your help!

Post by Timbo79 »

Excellent news!

scottlawrencelondon
Posts: 9
Joined: 6 Feb 2017 21:43
Location: 17 Sydenham Road

Re: Save Beer Rebellion - we need your help!

Post by scottlawrencelondon »

JRobinson wrote:here is his reply

we have upwards of 20 people that have offered to each put in £1k.
woop woop! :mrgreen:

butters
Posts: 61
Joined: 8 Jul 2016 11:36
Location: Sydenham

Re: Save Beer Rebellion - we need your help!

Post by butters »

You will need a PPL licence if you play any kind of recorded music, whether it be cds, having the tv on (regardless of what you watch) radio etc.

You should call PRS and see if you need a licence. You have bands play, irrespective of audience, some kind of licence is still required.

Penalty for non payment of licences can actually land you in the High Court with the minimum being a ban on playing music and a fine for costs. Always double check!
monkeyarms wrote:You don't need a license for live music anymore, the legislation changed a few years ago. There's a cut-off point, I think, in terms of audience numbers, but for live music in small venues the size of Beer Rebellion, there's no license required.

Wetherspoons don't pay the PRS license (Performing Rights Society, I think it stands for) , which isn't a huge amount of money per year, though I suppose it adds up if you've got a huge chain of hundreds of pubs. It's what you have to pay if you have recorded music playing in your place of business. Plenty of ordinary high-street businesses pay this (cafes, hairdressers etc), and most pubs do, because most pubs play recorded music.

monkeyarms
Posts: 285
Joined: 28 Jul 2015 14:54
Location: Tredown

Re: Save Beer Rebellion - we need your help!

Post by monkeyarms »

This is what gov.uk's page on entertainment licensing says, not too dissimilar from what I said:

"A licence is not required to stage a performance of live music, or the playing of recorded music if: it takes place between 8AM and 11PM; and it takes place at an alcohol on-licensed premises; and the audience is no more than 500 people."

It all changed a few years back.

One thing that surprised me in that wording however, is that it includes "recorded music" - I had thought you still needed a PRS and/or PPL license for recorded music.

In fact, the page even says that a license may well be required for "anyone that provides recorded music to an audience on premises NOT licensed for the sale or supply of alcohol". This implies that pubs and bars are exempt from PRS/PPL licenses, but other businesses aren't! Which would mean Wetherspoons' no-music policy is these days simply a question of, er, 'atmosphere' rather than cash.

Anyway, either way, those licenses weren't expensive and I'm guessing that a business such as Beer Rebellion (if they were playing recorded music, which I'm pretty sure they were when I went in there) were already in the know.

Post Reply