WharfeBank Brewery’s cash boost to spruce up image

Wharfedale Observer: Managing director of WharfeBank Brewery, Martin Kellaway Managing director of WharfeBank Brewery, Martin Kellaway

New funds will be used by a craft brewery to spruce up its image and branding in a bid to expand sales both in the UK and overseas.

WharfeBank Brewery, which operates out of a converted paper mill on the banks of the River Wharfe in Pool-in-Wharfedale, will use £50,000 of funding from business investment body Finance Yorkshire to revitalise its branding to widen the appeal of its beers.

The company is also recruiting an extra sales manager as part of the drive for more business following the recent appointment of award-winning brewer Steve Crump, which will increase the workforce to eight people.

Wharfe BankBrewery, founded in 2010 by Martin Kellaway, is looking to use the new investment to transform the corporate branding and labelling of its pump clips and premium bottled beers to enhance its presence on pub bars and store shelves.

It will also emphasise the craft nature of the business and its Yorkshire provenance.

The brewer plans to roll out its beers to more of the UK’s supermarkets as well as investigate opportunities for new sales in Europe and North America.

Its Tether Blond and Yorkshire IPA beers are now stocked in around 50 Tesco and Sainsbury’s stores across Yorkshire and taking part in European and American food and drink fairs has proved a success for the business.

WharfeBank initially only brewed cask ale for pubs, but began producing premium bottled beers and craft keg ales to keep up with consumer demand.

Mr Kellaway said: “We knew Finance Yorkshire had invested in other breweries, and heard positive feedback that they had been supportive and quick to respond, so we got in touch.

“The process was simple to follow and fast to conclude.”

Finance Yorkshire investment manager Karl Hodson said: “Finance Yorkshire offers gap funding to fast-growing companies like Wharfe Bank Brewery that need investment so they can keep up with demand.

“WharfeBank Brewery has experienced an impressive first three years in trading, and it is an exciting time to be involved. The brewery has compelling plans to expand into the European and North American markets, and strong forecasts.”

WharfeBank Brewery was among several local food and drink companies whose produce featured at a showcase recently held at the British Embassy in Brussels, hosted by the British Ambassador to Belgium, Jonathan Brenton, before Christmas.

The brewery also launched a new range of beers in Germany in 2013 at a major trade show in Cologne. WharfeBank had been invited to take part in the fair, which was attended by 460 drink exhibitors, by export support body UK Trade & Investment.

Finance Yorkshire provides a range of loans and investments from £15,000 to £2 million, to help small and medium-sized businesses meet the gaps in the market for funding to boost growth.

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