Getting great beer on to every street corner is a mantra we live by, we recently started brewing in Belgium to help achieve that, and before that at Redchurch. While that helps us to grow volume and serve market demand, it doesn’t fill the gap financially from where we are now, to where we need to be to build our vision of the future and change the game when it comes to craft beer here in the UK, to make it something inspirational and welcoming for the many, not just the few.
With that in mind, we began looking for investment and talking to various parties about 7 months ago. From start to finish this process and project has been entirely on our own terms and we have been keenly focussed on doing the best thing for the future stability of Beavertown so that we can continue to exceed our ambitions and provide a secure platform for us to grow as a business and as a team of people. As part of this process, we looked at all the options available. Crowdfunding simply couldn’t achieve the funds we need so that option came off the table quickly.
We then started looking at Private Equity which initially looked solid. However, the more we looked at the offers it became clear that it was only an option for the short to medium term. Private Equity groups offered the cash but across the board Private Equity seemed to be driven by maximising return on investment ASAP. Investors from these financial houses are not in it for the long run, or for the love of the product or industry they are investing in. They don’t care for the nuances and delicacies of your business. They want money in and money out x 3 as fast as possible. Understanding the pressures this intensity of return might put Beavertown under, perhaps forcing us into making the wrong decisions, led me to believe this would not be the right path for us to take. For us that was a risk too far. If we missed the high targets set in the short time period afforded, we’d put the brewery, our beers and our people at risk.
That was when we concluded that the most sensible and stable option was the one that sat furthest away from our minds at the start of the process, one that at first glance felt alien but on closer and more detailed inspection offered us boundless opportunities to grow and develop in the right, safe business manner. Finding another likeminded brewery as a partner. They had to be able to offer the huge injection of cash, but also the longer term and ultimately more important benefit of stability, along with understanding of and expertise in our field of brewing beer and taking our beers to market as best possible.
We talked to a number of brewers: small, medium and large, from all over the globe. We set strong red lines from the start that we would not cross. Beavertown had to remain its own business and in control of its own destiny, with me remaining in absolute charge and control of the company direction and vision. We would only align ourselves with a minority investor who were clear they would not be involved with the management of the brewery. It was also critical that any partner understood and respected our family ethos and culture. Someone who, regardless of size, understands the passion and drive we hold as a close-knit group of people who have taken Beavertown from a pan in a kitchen to where we are now. Finally, we needed a partner who wanted to support our innovations, creativity and drive for quality and expression, and help us get that beer far and wide, giving the drinker greater access to everything that is Beavertown.
It’s been an uncomfortable few weeks as speculative rumours have been flying about. The reality is that sometimes in business you can’t share everything and I’m a true believer in not talking about anything unless it is a done deal, and up until this very day there was no deal. However, after talking to many parties, we can announce that the minority partner we have chosen to work with to make our vision for Beaverworld a reality is Heineken. In choosing Heineken, we’ve met the criteria we set ourselves and that were important to us as a company and a team. We retain full control of our destiny. I continue to be the founder, CEO and visionary leading the Beavertown charge and the people you deal with here at the brewery are and will continue to be the dedicated Team Beaver. Heineken want to support us where we want it and otherwise leave us to get on doing what we do best. If there is anything that they can help with to improve our business across the board, they are there to assist, if we reach out.
Beavertown will be the same as we always were, and we will continue to forge our own path together as Team Beaver. We retain the freedom to do our own thing. The relationships with our accounts, distributors, suppliers and brewing family and friends stays exactly the same. Who we work with and how we work with them stays exactly the same. I can’t stress enough how imperative this has been to us throughout the process. Heineken do not want us to conform or change. They love what we do and want us to do more of it. That support gives us the opportunity to maximise what we do best and support our partners and team along the way to achieve and grow together. The only change will be the building of Beaverworld, hopefully with completion and beer flowing by late 2019.
Heineken is a proud, independent global brewer but it also remains a family brewer. That family connection means they take a long-term view which Bridget and I value. From the family through to every person I’ve met in the company, the passion for quality has been paramount. It’s been front and centre of all our discussions and why I’m confident the partnership will give us the ability to make our beers even better.
The other key component to choosing a partner from the start of this process was not only about helping us fund the build of this most amazing brewing and visitor experience but also the structure and expertise around the business of brewing beer. As mentioned our mantra over the past few years has been based on getting great beer in to the hands of people on every street corner. As explained earlier, those corners have transitioned from the streets of Hackney, throughout the UK and now my dream of building Beavertown into a global brand is at the forefront. This is my ambitious vision. The partner had to bring to the table not only the physical capital needs for the expansion but also a depth of expertise and knowledge within the industry, the route to market and logistical structure and foot print to help align with and assist in making our visions come to fruition. I want to take Beavertown as far and as wide as it can possibly go. The dreams I had in the kitchen have exploded beyond all proportions. I truly believe this is a magical time within our industry and I want to give Beavertown and its team the opportunity to take our beers and their experiences as far and wide as possible. I am so excited about this next step in the journey for all of us, the team, the drinker and the beer industry at large.