Salford brewery Seven Brothers has raised a glass to the expertise and experience served up by the Business Growth Hub.
The Seven Brothers Brewery, which is run by siblings from the McAvoy family, was looking for start-up capital to launch their micro craft brewery. Having been turned down by several High Street banks they approached the Hub’s Access to Finance team.
Warren reviewed their business plan and cash flow forecast, helping to make them ‘investment ready’ and in a strong position to apply for start-up capital. An application to the Business Finance Solutions was successful, with a £50,000 loan enabling them to buy the equipment they needed to start brewing.
As director Keith McAvoy explains: “Before we met Warren we were uncertain what was the best direction for the business to follow - but it all became much clearer after our first few meetings.
“Access to Finance has helped us get where we are today much more quickly than we could have done alone, and gave us the foundation we needed to successfully find funding.”
After the company had been trading for a few months, Keith was introduced to one of the Hub’s business growth advisors, Mick Hadfield, who was a judge at a regional beer festival. Keith had been looking for someone who could help the business improve their operations and increase profits, and with a background in food and drink, Mick proved the perfect match.
As a former Tesco store manager, one of the first things Mick was able to do was arrange a visit to find out how a supermarket works and help Keith get to grips with some of the jargon. It proved a success and the brewery now has a provisional listing with 75 stores, with product due to be sold from August onwards, a huge achievement for such a new business.
Since then, Mick has also worked with the business on their costings, and developed a brewery specific cost of sales calculator which accurately works out the duty they need to pay. He has also supplied information on local sourcing – including a new bottling plant - logistics and buying procedures, and provided up-to-date sector information on the cask market for use in future sales, marketing and finance applications.
The business is now also supplying to bars and pubs across Manchester and has so far created three jobs, with more to come.
Mick has also supported the company in a successful bid for £5000 of funding to work with Manchester Metropolitan University as one of the first breweries in the country to road test a new scheme to introduce the SALSA food safety standard into brewing. If successful it will help them gain access to new routes to market.
Fresh funding is also being sourced for a new bottling plant, while several large contracts could see the brewery exceed £500,000 in the next 12 months.
The brewery has also received visits from both the Prime Minster David Cameron, and Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable, has been referred to other programmes, and is also working with UKTI with a view to exporting to Europe.
And Mick adds: “Keith and the team are working hard to secure their future and aren’t shy when asking for advice. As sales pick up Keith has recognised the value of support for the future, whilst maintaining cost control and focus.
“What they’ve achieved after just 18 months in business is nothing short of incredible.”