Is Crowdfunding the Future of the Brewing Industry

In this week’s blog we ask the question, is crowdfunding the future of the brewing industry? We’ve seen Equity for Punks take Brewdog from two men and a dog in Aberdeen, to now opening their latest facility in Brisbane.

Now Northern Monk are on the uptake. They plan to boost their turnover by 300% over the next three years. They call this the Northern Rising.

What’s their plan?

Northern Monk plan to raise over half a million pounds in investment. This will fund:

  • A new canning line
  • Enough new fermenting vessels to triple their current capacity
  • New taprooms in London and Manchester
  • Expansion of their barrel ageing and wild beer programmes.

Has it worked in the past?

The example to point to on this front would be the monumentally successful Equity for Punks scheme run by Brewdog. There have been multiple rounds of funding to grow the business. The current (5th) round has helped them expand to Australia, opening a new facility in Brisbane.

The crowdfunding element has taken Brewdog from a niche craft brand to a household name. They’re an ever present product in supermarkets across the country. While this is a nightmare for independent stockists, it’s good to see breweries sticking to their guns.

What crowdfunding effectively means for breweries is that they can stick to their principles and their own ideas without the need to sell the brand to one of the industry giants.

Is this the trend or the exception?

You could have been forgiven for assuming that it was the exception. With the likes of Camden, Brooklyn and even Pirate Life brewing being bought out by the likes of Carlsberg and AB InBev (owners of Budweiser) it seemed like craft brewers were the new targets for big corporate cash.

What crowdfunding does, and what Northern Monk hope to achieve, is to avoid this. A quick web search reveals the scope of crowd funding in the brewing industry. Wildbeerco, Flagship, 4four, Innis & Gunn and even Camden before their sale to InBev, turned to the community to fund their expansion. Statistically, however, it’s very rare that investors in these businesses will see a return.

Is this actually a good thing?

This is, we think, a matter of opinion. Anything that keeps independents independent is a good thing as far as we’re concerned. The worry is that brewers go in with the best of intentions and then end up spurning the independents who supported them in favour of the supermarkets.

We make no secret of the fact that we try to avoid the supermarket brands where we can in favour of new and interesting craft brands. It keeps our range interesting for our customers and provides the choice that keeps them coming back.

We love the beers from Northern Monk and would love to see them do well. Just don’t let quality slip in favour of quantity for the supermarkets. Please?

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