Bristol-based brewery boosts capacity with expansion

Date: 08-06-2016

Tagged as: South WestFood and Drink

“Our Relationship Manager supported us at every stage of the relocation process, and was always on hand to provide the guidance needed to make the purchase as easy as possible.” Jon Comer, Owner, Arbor Ales


Arbor Ales, one of Bristol’s leading independent breweries, has moved to new 6,300 sq ft premises to increase production and meet the demand from a 20% rise in sales over the past two years.

Having recognised that their existing premises couldn’t accommodate their expansion plans, owners Megan Oliver and Jon Comer decided to explore the option of a move, and approached Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking for funding support.

 “We were unsure whether the expense of relocating the brewery would outweigh the benefits, but after speaking to our relationship team we felt confident that moving was the best way to boost growth over the coming years,” Jon explains. “Our relationship manager supported us at every stage of the relocation process, and was always on hand to provide the guidance needed to make the purchase as easy as possible.”

The Bank provided a six-figure funding package through the Regional Growth Fund*, while their Commercial Finance team put an Asset Finance facility in place. “Asset Finance facilities, such as hire purchase and leasing products, are ideal for companies like Arbor Ales that are expanding quickly, as it allows them to fund growth without affecting day-to-day cash flow,” says Amber Elias, Relationship Manager for Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance.

Boosting production

For Arbor Ales, the expansion provides a strong platform for sustainable growth in the UK and overseas. The company currently distributes its products to small and independent retailers across the UK and Italy, and with increased capacity has ambitions to expand farther, and begin exporting to the US, as well as target larger retailers in the UK.

“Moving a brewery can be a complex and expensive process, which is why we wanted to purchase new premises that will allow us to continue to expand,” says Jon. “Since moving we have also been able to invest in new machinery, which will speed up the production process significantly.”

The new premises house a new bottling line and two new fermenting machines, which are expected to help boost production by a third over the next 12 months.

Keeping the pace

Arbor Ales has achieved a great deal since its launch in 2006, and the expansion marks a significant milestone for a company that is making its presence felt. “The UK has established a reputation for producing a range of high-quality craft beers around the globe, and Arbor Ales is one of the independent breweries that is helping to establish this reputation both at home and overseas,” says Will Kite, Relationship Manager, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

“I have worked with the management team for a number of years and it was obvious that they were rapidly outgrowing their premises. To maintain its pace of expansion, moving was the only option.

“I have always been impressed by Jon and Megan’s dedication and drive, and look forward to supporting them as they continue to grow the business over the coming years. We are committed to supporting small business like Arbor Ales capitalise on expansion opportunities, and have pledged to grow our net lending by £1 billion** each year until 2017 to help companies like this achieve their ambitions.”

* The Regional Growth Fund was available from June 2013 until February 2015.
**£1 billion is a Lloyds Banking Group pledge.

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