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Last time The Crafty Pint caught up with Warwick and Kylie Little, they left us hanging. “There’s something on the horizon. We just can’t tell you yet.” “It’s big news for us but…” and so on. They hinted at a third range of esoteric beers to join their stable alongside the Wicked Elf and Mad Abbot beers, left us wondering if they were upping sticks from Port Macquarie, or perhaps, having helped Rob Oakeshott win some tax relief for brewers, were going to announce the formation of a New Model Army style force of brewers and beer lovers and lead a march on Canberra to demand tax equality.
It turns out, however, that – in their words – they were planning a BrewDog. Not, as we wrote in Friday’s newsletter, because they’re “going to stuff their beer into animals, play with ice cream factories, open 5,000 bars across the country overnight or adopt Scottish accents” but because they’re seeking investors to help them take the next step after five years in the brewing business. They’re not the first New South Wales brewers to seek financial input – the guys behind Harts Pub and the Rocks Brewing Company opened their doors to potential investors earlier in the year (and we’ll bring you the latest on that very soon) – but they do hope that, via up to 20 investors, they’ll be able to secure a cool $1,000,000.
“Through Equity for Punks, BrewDog raised capital for expansion,” says co-owner Kylie Little. “We’re in a position where we have to grow so we have created a public unlisted company and are basically going out to people and saying, ‘Here we are. We’ve proven ourselves product wise, we need to grow, and we need some help’.”
Full details of the share offer, which is open until September 30, 2012, can be found here. The intention is to use this stage of investment to improve efficiencies in the brewery, take on additional staff including brewers, and to purchase additional tanks and kegs. Beyond that, the Littles plan to seek a further $3,000,000 in the future for a new brewhouse and expansion both in Australia and overseas.
They are also considering options such as taking on a venue of their own or entering into a partnership to run one. This includes a proposed Sydney craft beer venue that would represent a number of small breweries, while they’re also looking at developing their Port Macquarie cellar door and considering a beer restaurant along the lines of Murrayâs At Manly.
In the meantime, they’ve switched their focus within the brewery and are sending out more beer in draught form, aided by a new distribution setup.
“We were 85 to 90 per cent a bottle beer producer,” says Warwick. “Now we’re 55 per cent keg sales and have tripled the number of kegs we’ve got. In the first month of this financial year, we’ve sold 50 per cent of last year’s keg production. [We believe that] with help we’ll be able to crank this place up to capacity.”
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