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Carlsberg buys London Fields Brewery days before its creator goes on trail for tax evasion

Hackney-based business will be owned by Carlsberg U.K

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LONDON, U.K. - Beer-maker London Fields Brewery was acquired by brewing giant Carlsberg, just as the company’s founder is set to appear in court over charges related to alleged tax evasion.

The Hackney-based business will reportedly be owned by Carlsberg U.K. but will be run by the Danish business as part of a joint venture with Brooklyn Brewery.

Julian Whiteway-Wilkinson, who started London Fields Brewery (LFB) in 2011 is set for court appearance this month following a 2014 raid by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) that led to charges of tax evasion to the tune of over 700,000 pounds. 

He faced allegations that the business had failed to pay taxes since its inception in 2011.

The raid forced the company’s brewing operations out of London, to be carried out by a supplier.

Whiteway-Wilkinson also sold the company to his father after the raid and has denied the allegations.

He will now stand trial at the Wood Green Crown Court.

Commenting on the sale, Carlsberg U.K.’s chief executive Julian Momen said, “We thank Julian for his work in establishing London Fields Brewery and the creation of this exciting brand, and we wish him well in the future. We’re thrilled to add LFB to our growing portfolio of great quality craft and specialty beer. Our customers, and specifically those in London and other major cities, are looking to us to offer them the best possible range of interesting craft beers – and we think that, with nurturing, LFB has huge potential.”

Subsequently, the Danish beverage behemoth announced that LFB will “operate as an independent business” as part of a joint venture with New York-based Brooklyn Brewery.

LFB, that shot to success after cashing in on the exploding popularity of craft beer in the capital, was lauded for creations including the ‘Make Love Not War’ and ‘Shoreditch Triangle IPA.’

It was also visited by celebrities such as Twilight star Robert Pattinson and Friends star David Schwimmer.
Its beers are currently brewed outside of Hackney.

Carlsberg, in its bid, has vowed to bring the brewery back to its home under the London Fields railway arches, and to upgrade its taproom and events space.

Brooklyn Brewery CEO Eric Ottaway said in a statement, “We’re excited to be able to work closely with this great London-based craft brewery. The range of beers, their eye-catching artwork and the great location of the brewery in Hackney makes for a fantastic platform. London Fields Brewery is surrounded by a thriving creative community that reminds us of home, and we’re looking forward to becoming part of it.”

Carlsberg has, however, not disclosed the value of the takeover.


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