Edinburgh brewer launches creative ‘beer-bond’ funding scheme

Dougal Gunn Sharp
Dougal Gunn Sharp

Scottish brewer Innis & Gunn has embarked on an innovative fundraising scheme that will see it attempt to raise £3 million through the sale of so-called “beer-bonds” that can be redeemed against beer at its online shop.

The funds are being sought so the Edinburgh-based company can expand with the building of a new brewery at an unspecified location in south east Scotland.

As well as a beer yield, a minimum investment of £500 in a four-year, fixed term ‘mini-bond’, will offer a more financially motivated investor a gross annual interest rate of 7.25 per cent.

Alternatively, the ‘BeerBond’ offers an equivalent gross interest rate of nine per cent per year but the return must be redeemed against beer from the Innis & Gunn online shop in the form of ‘BeerBucks’.

Innis & Gunn, which insists it is “very confident” of raising its target, will use the funds to build a state of the art brewery, as well as a bottling line and barrel store.

Founded in 2003, the brewer reported turnover of £11.8m in 2014, a year in which it sold 20 million bottles of beer and up from £10.5m in 2013.

Innis & Gunn is currently in “advanced negotiations” to buy land for a new facility.

It expects the brewery and bottling line to create up to 35 new jobs over the next four years.

The company said it would continue to brew the bulk of its beer at Wellpark Brewery in Glasgow.

Founder and chief executive Dougal Gunn Sharp said: “We could go to banks for the money, but the whole principle behind this, of doing the Innis & Gunn BeerBond, is we wanted to ask our fans, the drinkers around the UK, to contribute to the future success of the business.

“Building a brewery will enable us to brew beer that at the moment we just can’t make.

“We just wanted to make it easy for our fans to participate. And we have chosen a bond because we felt it was the right thing for fans and investors.

“It is clear and it is simple, and the terms and benefits in the invitation document are clearly set out so anybody that invests knows exactly what they will receive and when.

“What we hoped was that the 7.25 per cent per annum in cash will really appeal to lose with savings languishing in bank accounts with 0.1 per cent interest.”

He added: “Our state-of-the-art brewery is where we will get even more creative and make epic new beers for craft beer drinkers to enjoy.”

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