The Bellfield Brewery, the UK’s first dedicated gluten free brewery, has launched a crowdfunding campaign offering members of the public the chance to invest in the business.
Using equity platform Crowdcube, the brewery has already attracted more than 57% of its desired capital (£85,990) through private and initial contributions from the public.
The remaining £64,100 will be raised by offering public investors a combination of an equity stake alongside a menu of rewards ranging from exclusive bottlings to the chance to brew their own beer at the brewery, which will be set up in Edinburgh.
Working in partnership with independent brewing experts, the Bellfield Brewery is developing a range of beers and lagers that are naturally gluten free, with its first products expected to be on sale by autumn 2015.
The range will include a premium IPA, the flavour and style of which is difficult to perfect using entirely gluten free ingredients.
The founders have also signed a Collaboration Agreement with Heriot-Watt University’s International Centre for Brewing and Distilling.
Subject to funding from the Scottish Funding Council, this collaboration will launch a rigorous programme of research and further recipe development during April and May 2015.
Gareth Howells, one of the co-founders of the Bellfield Brewery, said “We believe the best way for us to put the UK’s first dedicated gluten free brewery on the map is to bring in investors to own a share of this exciting new business. They will be our first customers and ultimately the ambassadors for the brand we aim to build.
“While gluten free lager and beer has been available for some time, its distribution is limited, particularly in the on-trade, and the category in general has niche appeal. Brewing with entirely gluten free grains remains technically difficult.
“There are only a handful of dedicated gluten free breweries in the world but we’re the first to be established in the UK. We plan to brew a range of beers and lagers that will have broad consumer appeal using traditional brewing methods combined with non-traditional ingredients: a combination of art and science.”
Marie Brown, Operations Manager at the Bellfield Brewery, said: “The market opportunity is significant. Based on our current forecasts, we estimate that we can achieve a market valuation of between £5.8m and £10.9m by 2018.
“We’re bringing in industry experts across all areas of the business including Chartered Brands, the company that oversaw the strategy and development of market leader Genius bread.
“We are already in discussion with a number of potential distributors, and we expect to be supplying independent specialists, multiple retailers and the on-trade by October 2015.”
In 2014, total UK beer sales reached £16.9 billion while sales of premium, bottled ale have increased by 20% since 2010. Sales of craft ale in the UK are estimated at £438m and the sector is growing.
Mintel reports confirm that 34% of regular beer drinkers would consider gluten free beer if it tasted as good as regular beer.
The Bellfield Brewery is based in Edinburgh and was founded by a group of friends who either have coeliac disease themselves or have loved ones who are coeliacs. The Bellfield Brewery will seek Coeliac UK’s GF accreditation for its entire range, so that all products carry the internationally recognised ‘crossed grain’ symbol.
Images: Bottle shot: First samples of Bellfield Brewery’s initial range (unbranded). Illustrations by blogger the Edinburgh Sketcher (also a coeliac)
Notes to Editors
- Coeliac disease is a lifelong autoimmune disease caused by intolerance to gluten.
- 1 in 100 people in the UK have coeliac disease while the number of people being diagnosed has increased fourfold between 1990 and 2011 (Nottingham University). Once diagnosed, it is treated by following a gluten free diet for life. For further information, please visit the Coeliac UK website.
- One in five Brits now regularly buy gluten free products.
- “Free-from” sales topped £0.5bn for the first time in 2014, after sales grew by 15%.
- Financial forecasts are based on setting up a 15-barrel brewery (2,500 litres per brew) producing three batches of beer per week in 2016, five batches per week in 2017 and seven batches per week in 2018. If demand requires, production can be increased at no additional capital investment.
- The Bellfield Brewery is offering £150k investment for 15% of equity under the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS).