Raising Finance

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Innis & Gunn launches BeerBond to seek investors’ help in building a brewery

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Dougal Sharp was approached by Grants to produce beer that would flavour barrels altering the taste of whisky. This was how Innis & Gunn was formed.

“The beer wasn’t getting chucked away, it was getting drunk by the workers, who had cottoned on to the fact that the beer that had been in these oak barrels had completely transformed in flavour,” said Sharp.

Grants and Sharp embarked on a joint venture in 2003 to produce and sell the beer. The partnership lasted until 2008, when Sharp initiated a management buyout.

Innis & Gunn now has an annual turnover of £11.8m in 2014 – up from £10.5m in 2013

This has prompted Sharp to “look for a suitable site” to build a brewery. Innis & Gunn used to be produced at Caledonian Brewery before Heineken acquired it as part of a Scottish & Newcastle takeover. 

The founder is in negotiations to buy land in South East Scotland and has launched a mini-bond in order to raise £3m for a new brewery. It will create an additional 35 jobs over the next four years.

Sharp said: “We could go to a bank for the money, but we would much rather pay interest to the people who love our beer. We are confident that we have created an offer that not only allows us to raise funds to build a new brewery, but that has appeal to the Innis & Gunn community, giving them the opportunity to become even closer to our business and play an important role in the future success of Innis & Gunn and British beer.”

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The BeerBond will enable consumers to invest and “help build the brewery”. It will be a four-year mini-bond offering an interest rate of 7.25 per cent gross interest per annum for investments from £500.

Sharp claimed that “UK investors could opt for cash returns or BeerBucks”, which can be redeemed at the Innis & Gunn online store. There is also a BeerBucks BeerBond, which offers nine per cent gross interest rate per annum, with the return taken in the form of BeerBucks.

“Funds raised will enable us to create a new state-of-the-art brewery, bottling line and barrel store, which will enable us to experiment and handcraft small batches of new and exciting seasonal and limited edition beers,” Sharp said.

Applications for the BeerBond will close at 13:00 on 16th June 2015 and will come on a “first-come, first-served basis”. 

Sharp concluded that investors can have their name inscribed on the new brewery building.

The trend of breweries seeking alternative means of finance was previously seen by BrewDog. The company raised £3m by 2013 from selling £95 shares to fans, the Equity for Punks scheme was rolled out in June and generated over £1m on its first day.

Camden Town Brewery used equity platform Crowdcube to raise £1.5m. Co-founder Jasper Cuppaidge said the main reason for the capital raise was to finance the creation of a new brewery as high demand meant that a certain percentage had to be outsourced to Belgium.

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