How to finance your brewery growth

The beverage and drinks industry is experiencing a fundamental sea change in how, where, and by whom drinks are produced, packaged, and sold. Smaller, independent businesses have the opportunity to capitalise on consumer demand for more authentic, craft products.  Medium to large businesses are facing exciting challenges in diversifying routes to market.  With increasing demand they now have the financial justification for ramping up production, bringing expensive packaging services in house, and creating their own shops, bars, and restaurant “experiences” as part of their appeal. Demand is equally high on those providing services into this industry, as it swells on all sides.

So how do businesses capitalise on these opportunities, remaining adaptable and responsive whilst preserving cashflow to keep costs in line with revenue streams?

One might be inclined to think these days that the only way to raise this money is via crowdfunding such as Hop Stuff, Northern Rock etc, but Crowdfunding is not right for everyone and is only one of the ways in which businesses in our sector can raise money.

FTSE banks and financial institutions are also, like the giants of beverage production who are buying up the successful independent breweries, taking notice of the success in the industry and loosening their purse strings, offering competitive funding to support businesses of all sizes.


Businesses looking to take the next step, whether larger production facilities, bottling lines, or opening tap rooms, should seek to present considered business cases and take advantage of these funding lines to get the money they need to build their business.

Winning finance depends on off-setting perceptions of risk in the eyes of the lenders. This involves;

  • Up-to-date financial records (YE accounts filed promptly)
  • Management accounts generated from good internal accounting processes
  • Clear detailed forecasts leading on from these, for around 3 years.
  • And importantly, telling the narrative of where you have been and where you are going.
    • How and why you started the business
    • Where do you want to take the business
  • Choosing reputable suppliers of production equipment will also make lenders more inclined to finance these costs.

There are many different types of business finance available to businesses in this industry apart from crowd funding;

  • Asset finance for large production equipment as well as restaurant / bar fit outs,
    (Asset finance is a type of finance used by businesses to obtain the equipment they need to grow. It usually involves paying a regular charge for use of the asset over an agreed period of time, thus avoiding the full cost of buying outright. The most common types of asset finance are leasing and hire purchase.)
  • Loans/overdrafts for cashflow and purchases such as stock, staff training, and marketing,
  • Invoice finance for those big trade deals you have won.
    (Invoice financing is a way for businesses to borrow money against the amounts due from customers. Invoice financing helps businesses improve cash flow, pay employees and suppliers, and reinvest in operations and growth earlier than they could if they had to wait until their customers paid them.)
  • Commercial mortgages and development finance for ambitious building projects,
    • New buildings for breweries
    • Tap rooms
    • Restaurants

Being successful does require planning & structure.

The two key secrets of success in this area are;

1. Have a plan of what you aim to achieve in reasonable detail and the relevant financials for a 2 or 3 year period ahead that shows how the business is effectively going to fund the finance it is looking for. 

This plan should encapsulate the key points itemised earlier. 

  • Up to date accounts
  • Detailed forecasts
  • A convincing narrative of why you need the money and how you will pay it off.

2. Using a reputable brokerage who understands the industry. They will help you construct your business case, emphasise the strengths, help explain away any weaknesses, and with an intimate understanding of how each bank underwrites cases and what their appetite for a lend is (and all banks vary to a surprising degree), they control the dissemination of your business case to ensure it achieves the desired outcome.

For the winning combination

Contact The Business of Drinks for help with developing a plan and forecasts and for a no obligation introduction to the financial process, contact Oliver Young at Moorgate Brewery Finance, specialists in all beverage industries including vineyards, cider orchards, distilleries, soft drink production, restaurants and bars, and of course breweries.