The Dark Star Brewing Co: Brewing up a Storm

The Dark Star Brewing Co began life back in 1994 in the cellar of The Evening Star Pub in Brighton, in the days when micro-breweries were few and far between. Back then, the brew plant was not much bigger than an enthusiastic home-brew kit and the hoppy beers were tried out on willing guinea pigs at the bar above the cellar.

Dark Star

The beers took off and, before long, the little brewery in the cellar was not only busy keeping up with the growing thirst of the Evening Star’s drinkers, but supplying other local pubs and beer festivals. Plus Accounting has been advising the company since these small beginnings.

Since 1994, The Dark Star Brewing Co has continued to expand. When it outgrew the cellar, it moved to a converted barn at Ansty and then, more recently, to larger premises in Partridge Green. The group now includes two pubs –The Evening Star in Brighton and The Partridge in Partridge Green - and the company’s award-winning beer, including The Art of Darkness, American Pale Ale, Hophead, Espresso (which includes Arabica coffee beans) and Dark Star Original, is available in pubs nationwide.

All through these developments and various changes of shareholders, the team at Plus Accounting has been there to offer the management team a raft of business and accounting help, such as advising on capital allowances on equipment and refits.

“As we’ve grown and developed, the specialist knowledge of Plus Accounting’s tax team has been invaluable,” says Nigel Hartley, FD at The Dark Star Brewing Co. “The team is always responsive and available when we need them to offer advice and technical back-up.”

The Dark Star Brewing Co’s contact at Plus Accounting is Peter Hedgethorne.

“We’ve been working with Peter for a long time and he and the team have a good grasp of the business,” says Nigel. “We’ve provided them with a number of challenges over the years – we’ve acquired and disposed of pubs and we’ve had changes in shareholders as well. The firm has also helped us with dealings and questions from HMRC.”

He continues: “While our team has been driving the business forward, Peter and his colleagues at Plus Accounting have been working away in the background, making sure that the paperwork is in order. We remain very happy with the service we receive from Plus Accounting and the price always seems reasonable too.”

Nigel says he’s impressed by the wide range of expertise and services under one roof at Plus Accounting.

“We know that the team offers financial services advice and, with changes in pensions and so forth, we will probably be knocking on the door for additional support in the near future,” he explains.

Peter Hedgethorne adds: “I had been helping Dark Star’s chairman Pete Halliday and his partner with the books for the Evening Star for a couple of years when they came up with the idea to start brewing their own beer in the back of the pub. The challenges have altered since those days, but it is great to still be working with now MD Paul Reed, Nigel and the team. Together they have built the brand into one of the best known real ale names in the country.”


Nigel Hartley
The Dark Star Brewing Co. Limited

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