Beavertown Brewery, the company behind craft beer sensations Gamma Ray, Neck Oil and more, have this week closed the place where it all began, De Beauvoir’s Duke’s Brew & Que, with no advance warning – but insist there’s “no hidden scandal or drama”.
The shock decision to shutter the brewpub and barbecue joint was announced in a statement released 4 December, signed by Logan Plant (Beavertown co-founder and son of Led Zeppelin singer Robert) and Team Beaver.
The announcement notes that whilst it “might seem like it’s coming out of the blue”, the move to close the flagship Downham Road operation had been in the works for some time:
“It’s been a very challenging, lengthy process but the conclusion is that we close Duke’s immediately. There is no hidden scandal or drama behind the decision.
“Since we opened Duke’s, London’s beer and BBQ scene has changed immensely and as a business is now no longer a natural fit for Beavertown’s future.”
Duke’s fans took to Twitter in astonishment, particularly at the lack of any opportunity to bid farewell. One local resident, Ruth Lester, has even set up a petition calling for “one last rib please”.
This is terrible news. Immediately? Not even chance for a farewell visit?
Proper end of an era stuff.
— Paul (@reev0) December 4, 2017
So, so gutted by this news. tbf the statement doesn’t explain why it had to be closed immediately, if it’s not a ‘natural fit’ going forward you could have at least let us (ME!) come eat the contents of the kitchen in a massive meaty party 😉
— Mr Omneo (@mr_omneo) December 4, 2017
The Citizen has since spoken to Beavertown Bars Operations Director Hannah Vernon who, despite being tight-lipped on the full reasoning behind the decision and any future plans for the site, gave assurances that former staff were being looked after.
“It is unfortunate that the decision has come time of the time of the year,” said Vernon. “After making the decision we wanted to keep our staff employed for as long as we could, but not long enough to prevent then securing new employment.”
“The immediate closure was actually more motivated by taking care of the staff properly as a first priority and giving them the opportunity to gain work… and NOT by “Dukes no longer being a natural fit”.
“Early December is a buoyant time of the year for getting work in hospitality. Had we closed just before Christmas (23/24 December) or in January, it would have been much more difficult for our staff.
“I’ve received multiple communications for local operators who want to hire our crew. Those who want to get back straight back into work have already been directed towards new opportunities, some having already interviewed.
“The crew I’ve worked with every day for the last 6 years are like family to me. I’ll do everything I can to get them back into work ASAP.”
Almost all of Beavertown’s signature collection of beers were first brewed in the Duke’s kitchen around the time of its opening in 2011 – from the nu-pale ale defining Gamma Ray to smoky porter Smog Rocket (made expressly to complement Duke’s popular beef ribs).
At the time, Beavertown only had the capacity to output 650 litres of beer, a far cry from the eight 10,000 litre tanks present at their current brewery in Tottenham Hale.