When Hertfordshire based Red Squirrel Brewery decided to look for further investment in its craft beer brewing company, there was one clear way to go; like many other small businesses, crowdfunding was the most viable option.

They are forecasted to grow by over 111% this financial year, hitting revenues of around £1 million. With a bit of investment from the public, they are hoping to further expand their Brewery Shop & Tasting Bar concept targeting in the main provincial towns in the South East as well opening its first Microbrew Bar in Europe.

However, Red Squirrel are not the first brewing company to see crowdfunding as a viable alternative form of finance. They are following in the footsteps of successful crowdfunders BrewDog, who launched Britain’s biggest crowdfunding project ever in April, hoping to raise £25m.

James Watt, BrewDog’s co-founder, said: “We are not the Rockefellers. We are Guy Fawkes. This is about changing small business finance for ever.

“By making profit king, the financial institutions of the City gave rise to the bastardisation and commoditisation of beer. We are burning the established system down to the ground and forging a new future for business from the flames.”

However interestingly, instead of using a traditional crowdfunding platform such as Crowdcube, they chose to launch their own site, “Equity for Punks”.

Similarly, the UK’s fastest growing craft beer club, Beer52, has raised £100k from the crowd to grow their online community to 10,000 members in 2014. Beer52 is an early stage startup, launched just three months ago, and is already the UK’s largest and fastest growing craft beer club with more than 2,500 paying subscribers – for £24 a month they send you a mixed case of eight craft beers.

According to the Campaign for Real Ale, the number of breweries in Britain in 2014 hit a 70-year high of 1,147 as growth in micro-breweries continues apace. Living in London, it’s increasingly clear that independent breweries are on the rise; in South London, I live opposite two small breweries who have opened in the last few years. It appears that, instead of loans from banks, crowdfunding from their existing customer base, who like their product and would like a part in seeing them thrive, is the best form of finance.

If investing in independent breweries is something that interests you, Scottish brewery Innis & Gunn have launched a beer bond that is available to invest in until the 16th July. They offer 1.5% interest pa. in cash, or 9% interest in store credit to spend on their beer.

Over in the US, crowdfunding playform CrowdBrewed has been created purely for small breweries to ascertain funding; it’s surely only a matter of time before the same happens here.


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