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New scheme offers savers a chance to invest in UK’s fast-growing craft beer sector

Craft beer-makers throughout the UK can tap into a new source of funding for the sector.
Craft beer-makers throughout the UK can tap into a new source of funding for the sector.

Savers looking for liquid assets to invest in are the target of a new initiative aimed at helping the UK’s craft brewing industry find new customers as Britain’s embattled hospitality sector gets back to business.

The scheme, BrewFunder, is the brainchild of Toby Chantrell – the creator of brewery procurement platform BrewBroker and co-founder of Brew//LDN, the UK’s largest craft beer festival.

The idea is to pair up breweries that are ready for additional funding with investors who have a specific interest in the industry.

Investors are looking for innovative and growing sectors to get involved with, and we know for a fact there are some out there who are ready and willing to put money into brewery businesses.”

Adam Hardie, Johnston Carmichael

Scottish accountancy firm Johnston Carmichael (JC) has agreed to offer a “comprehensive” assessment to every potential investee to make sure they are “flight checked” and ready for such investment.

BrewFunder’s launch comes as the hospitality industry starts trying to get back to some kind of normality after its recent woes and as Covid-19 restrictions ease around the UK.

The pandemic has also created major hurdles for brewers looking to shift stock and access funding, despite strong consumer demand for their products.

But, with more pubs and restaurants opening up again, Britain’s craft beer-makers are increasingly optimistic that opportunities for them to grow their customer base are out there.

Industry ‘still has plenty of growing to do’

Mr Chantrell, said: “We work with brewers of all different sizes day in day out, and we’re now seeing more and more exciting businesses that are ready to grow.

“Like just about every sector, the last 12 months have not been without challenges for brewers, as they have had to overcome hurdles ranging from the logistics of safely managing production through to the changing patterns of demand as consumer habits have ebbed and flowed throughout the pandemic.


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“Our experience has shown the craft beer industry still has plenty of growing to do and there remains a consistent demand from customers seeking something different to the traditional mass-market beers.

“What’s more, this customer base values quality over quantity, with more than half of customers happy to pay more for craft beer than for standard mass-produced products.”

‘Ripe’ for investment

He added: “The potential of the sector, combined with the innovative and ambitious nature of many of the country’s best small breweries, make it an industry that is ripe for further investment.

“By partnering with Johnston Carmichael, we hope to prepare the breweries we work with so they are ready to take the next step in their growth.”

Adam Hardie, head of food and drink at Aberdeen-headquartered JC, said: “The investment landscape has changed radically in recent years.


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“Crowdfunding is now playing a much bigger role and investors are taking a more sector-specific approach to which projects they choose to fund. Investors also tend to be time-poor, so getting the right project in front of them at the right time can be tricky.

“BrewFunder can do the heavy lifting for investors, ensuring that any businesses we put forward have had their pre-flight checks done and are ready to take the next step.”

Adam Hardie, head of food and drink at Johnston Carmichael.

Mr Hardie added: “As we continue to emerge from lockdown, we’re increasingly finding that breweries are ready to take the next step in terms of expansion but are unable to due to a lack of investment.

“Investors are looking for innovative and growing sectors to get involved with, and we know for a fact there are some out there who are ready and willing to put money into brewery businesses.

“Working with the team at BrewFunder, it is now our aim to make it easier for investors to find the right project for them.”

JC’s food and drink expert and drink industry veteran Mark Crowther will together host a Brew//LDN “meet the brewery” investor event on July 29.


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