Somerset’s Wild Beer Co has smashed its initial £1 million crowdfunding target 10 days ahead of schedule and will now set about implementing ambitious expansion plans.
More than 1,300 investors have joined the equity raise, investing anything from £10 upwards, and the expansion is already underway ahead of the 31 March deadline.
The brewer is using the funds to help it create a £10 million destination brewery with bars and a restaurant built on the Bath & West Show ground. Its original brewery will be kept and developed into a 'barrel-ageing mecca', said to be the first of its kind in the UK and perhaps understandably so.
The Wild Beer Co specialises in wild fermentation techniques and barrel-ageing and has been driving growth in the UK’s sour beer market.
Co-founder Brett Ellis said: 'The brewery was started with a passion for the flavours of barrel-aged wild and sour beers. Our base in Somerset was the perfect backdrop that provided the inspiration and ingredients to begin that dream.'
Sour beer has really taken off in recent years thanks to its depth, complexity and food pairing potential, and that looks set to continue in 2017.
The Wild Beer Co’s offerings include The Blend and Modus Operandi, and they have helped the brewery to be nominated as one of three finalists in the Best Drinks Producer category at the BBC Good Food Awards.
The founders were in Bath last night to help whip up more interest, and investors have been able to sample two new beers, Spicy Crowd and Cloudy Crowd, described as a Thai spice infused Pale Ale and a hazy IPA fruit bomb respectively.
The brewer already has two restaurant bars, employs 60 people and exports to 25 countries, but now it is massively ramping up its operations thanks to Crowdcube.
Food and drink accounted for 25% of the £80 million raised on Crowdcube – the main platform for crowdfunding, along with Seedrs and Kickstarter – in 2016, and Brewdog has already raised £26 million in this way.
'It’s a popular sector because it’s easy to understand and businesses can tap into people’s emotions,' said Crowdcube co-founder Luke Lang. 'They have a passion for brands and this plays well with crowdfunding.'