Award-winning craft brewer unveils £4m EIS expansion
West Berkshire Brewery (WBB) is to raise £4m through a tax-efficient Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) to build a newbrewery, as it responds to continuing strong demand for its award-winning beers beyond its Thames Valley heartland.
Led by renowned international brewing entrepreneur David Bruce, WBB plans to satisfy growing beer volumes with a larger brewing facility replete with visitor centre, café and a brewery shop, as well as state-of-the-art bottling, kegging and canning lines. The firm will also purchase its first freehold pub to serve as a showcase for its beers.
The plan follows a period of strong sales growth for the company and comes amid the appointment of two industry heavyweights to the WBB board – Bruce’s partner from both the City and Capital pub companies, Clive Watson, and former Fuller’s national account controller, Simon Robertson-Macleod.
Bruce, who has a long track record in successful fundraisings through the government’s tax-efficient EIS route, said: “We are delighted to announce our plans for the next stage in the development of the West Berkshire Brewery business. We are very excited for what 2015 will behold.
“We have great ambitions for the brewery, as well as for our fantastic portfolio of brands, and are ready to take our high-quality range of British-brewed premium beers to a larger audience than ever before.”
Based on its current increasing growth in sales – with like-for-likes up 17% in the six months to September 2014, and growth of approximately 20% each year since 2000 – WBB is expected to outgrow its current brewery within two years.
In addition to the new site, WBB aims to use the new funds to purchase a freehold pub in a nearby urban location. The new money will also be utilised for working capital as the company seeks to strengthen its sales and marketing teams.
WBB’s business expansion follows a rebranding of their entire beer range, which so far this year has won seven awards.
The EIS succeeds last year’s fundraising venture, when WBB raised £1.23m through offering family, friends and beer aficionados the opportunity to become shareholders.