The organic brewer received overwhelming support for its campaign, reaching its target of £300,000 within just a few days.
Investors in the seven-year bond are, according to Stroud Brewery founder and MD Greg Pilley, an even split between national investors and local supporters with Stroud postcodes. ‘There are easier ways to raise finance for business, and cheaper ways, but this is a great way of engaging our local community. It's ethical investors that want to invest in an ethical business, so it's also an ethical way of borrowing, compared to supporting a bank you might not necessarily want to support,’ he told Imbibe.
The brewery sees this local support at its brewery tap on weekends, which currently accounts for 10% of its volume sales. A third of the funds raised will go towards the taproom bar at the brewery’s new site, allowing it to open more frequently, and including a kitchen and pizza oven. Funds will also go towards environmental improvements to the new site, as well as increased capacity.
Despite the level of support for the campaign, the raised funds are capped at the campaign’s target of £300,000. ‘It’s very tempting to have lots of money, but we’ve calculated what we need, and what we feel comfortable servicing as a debt, and we didn’t want to raise any more – although it’s quite clear that we could have done,’ said Pilley.
Investors not only gain interest, but also membership to Stroud Brewery's existing Beer Club for the seven years of the bond, giving them a 10% discount on beer purchases. Stroud worked with sustainable expert Triodos Bank to set up the crowdfunding initiative.