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Case Study: Abbeydale Brewery

Published: May 2006

Clive Downward, Investment Director with Chris Morton, Director of Abbeydale Brewery.

Abbeydale Brewery Team

The Company

Abbeydale Brewery Ltd has been whetting the palates of ale drinkers across the region since 1996. The family firm was established by Patrick Morton and his father Hugh.

Patrick had been involved in the brewing industry before the formation of Abbeydale Brewery. He was head brewer of a microbrewery partnership and put his expertise to use by producing a range of highly acclaimed brews but sought a greater challenge and wanted to develop a range of contemporary real ales.

The company soon established itself in premises on Aizlewood Road, Abbeydale, Sheffield.

The family has a long-standing history in the city, stemming back to Morton’s cutlery business which ceased manufacturing from its West Street premises in 1983.

Director Chris Morton said: "The family business goes back at least four generations in Sheffield’s steel and cutlery industry, but it has to be said that making beer is much more fun than manufacturing scissors!"

The Challenge

The company felt the climate was ripe for expansion and wanted to increase the number of beers the brewery produced.

The objective for the expansion was to initiate significant production of high quality beers and to help re-establish Sheffield’s reputation as a beer producing city. The company’s ‘Moonshine’ beer currently outsells any other microbrewery produced beer in Sheffield’s bars and pubs

The company expansion plan also included the purchase of their first pub - the Rising Sun at Nether Green.

The Solution

Abbeydale Brewery turned to South Yorkshire Investment Fund for help with funding the expansion and a £150,000 loan was agreed.

In addition to the loan from SYIF, the company also received a £50,000 Food and Tourism grant from Invest for Growth (IFG) administered by Business Link South Yorkshire.

The funding will be used to increase their brewing capacity from 70 to 150 barrels of beer per week.

Said Chris: "The funding will allow the company to grow much more quickly than would otherwise be possible. This investment will enable to us to economise the brewing process and to pay greater attention to quality throughout."

SYIF Investment Director Clive Downward, said: "Abbeydale Brewery is an established company with a very high quality product and the management have a clear vision for future development."

Progress to Date

With the funding in place, Abbeydale Brewery has been able to press forward with its expansion plans and has also secured the purchase of the Rising Sun pub. The pub has nineteen draft beers, including ten hand pumps, and showcases Abbeydale Brewery beers alongside a selection of guest beers from South Yorkshire and beyond.

The company hopes that its expansion will lead to greater success and further acclaim.

Said Chris: "Sheffield has always been a hallmark for quality and the city had a proud tradition of brewing beer on a large scale through companies like Stones and Wards."

"Wards was the last significant regional brewer in beer in Sheffield and we see our expansion as a step on the return path to volume brewing."

SYIF’s Clive said: "We are pleased that the SYIF loan will go towards cementing their place as a premier brewery and in supporting their expansion plans."

Editor's Notes

About South Yorkshire Investment Fund

South Yorkshire Investment Fund  provided seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15k to £2.5m, specifically to help small and medium businesses meet the gaps in funding they need for growth and development.

Created as part of the Objective 1 programme, the Fund is a private and public sector business finance provider. The European Regional Development Fund and Yorkshire Forward are investors in the Fund.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund also provided access to Business Angel investments from the Yorkshire Association of Business Angels and Microloans through BiG Business Loan Fund and Donbac Microloan Fund.

Finance Yorkshire has now taken on responsibility for providing gap finance in Yorkshire and the Humber.

For further details please contact Suzanne Tinkler,  on 0845 649 0000.

South Yorkshire Investment Fund Ltd is a company limited by guarantee (Registered No 3936065). South Yorkshire Investment Fund comprises three sub funds, the South Yorkshire Investment Capital Fund, the South Yorkshire Investment Development Fund, which are each managed by YFM Venture Finance Limited, and the South Yorkshire Investment Small Business Fund, which is managed by Finance South Yorkshire Ltd. YFM Venture Finance Limited (Tel 0113 294 5000) and Finance South Yorkshire Ltd (Tel 01709 386 377) are each authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. South Yorkshire Investment Fund also provides a number of services, which are not regulated by The Financial Services Authority. These include the pilot Seedcorn Fund, BiG Business Loan Fund, Mentorbank and access to the Donbac Microloan Fund. BiG Business Loan Fund is managed by Donbac Ltd (company registration No. 01925556) and Key Fund Yorkshire Ltd (Tel 0114 242 8900).