07 March 2022

Steel BreweryAn expanding craft beer brewery based at the Royal William Yard in Plymouth, Steel Brew Co,  benefitted from a £95,000 loan injection which helped it relocate to a new premises with larger brewing facilities.

Steel Brew began in 2018 when business owner Nick Palfrey decided to start his own brewery. Using alternative ingredients, Nick began experimenting with new flavours and soon created a distinctive recipe which he felt was commercial.

In 2019, Nick received a £17,000 Start Up Loan via SWIG Finance to produce 750 litres of his craft beer and begin setting up a taproom.

Fast forward to July 2021, and following a period of widespread disruption caused by the ongoing pandemic, the Steel Brew Co taproom was officially opened to the public and Nick could finally begin sharing his brews as planned in the beginning – as cask ales.

Soaring popularity, coupled with future plans to diversify income streams by selling through wholesalers and offsite through pop-up stands at food markets, music events and festivals, meant that the business needed to increase their production levels and storage facilities, which required significant investment.

Nick says that the craft beer market is a friendly but competitive one, and there are many complexities to consider when it comes to growth. For example, craft beer has a limited shelf life which makes storage, alongside increasing sales volumes, critical elements for consideration.

Steel Brew currently employs 10 people and they are looking to triple their headcount over the next 3 years.

Of the funding, Nick said “In the craft beer industry, it is very difficult to grow without working capital. This funding means that as we grow, we can work to improve our operational process as a whole, rather than working on specific components, which often results in a disjointed process”.

SWIG’s Business Manager, Rachael Taylor, commented “We were delighted to support Nick in 2019 and we were really pleased that he came back to us for further funding. Nick and the Steel Brew Co team have worked tirelessly to ensure that the brand continued to grow, even in the harshest business environment, and that is a true testament to their dedication to the business.”

Join the Growth Hub’s Access to Finance webinar series to learn more about finance opportunities available to South West businesses. The webinars are also listed on our Eventbrite page if you would like to book for selected events.

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