Supplier Focus

By Products & Services

Ascot Brewing MD Chris Davies: looking to add a canning line, grow exports

Ascot Brewing seeks new home, ponders expansion

Horse racing-themed Ascot Brewing Company is in the hunt for a new home after quadrupling revenues and raising £316,000 on Crowdcube.

Chris Davies, the local entrepreneur who bought the business in April 2017, is considering a gamble on jumping from an existing 4-barrel brewkit to a 20-barrel plant as part of the move, which he hopes will happen as soon as possible.

He said, “we now have more than 700 investors who are expecting this to happen sooner rather than later and we don’t want to disappoint them.”

Premises are being sought near Ascot’s existing brewery and taproom in Camberley, Surrey.

The firm, founded in 2007, has enjoyed its growth spurt since hiring as head brewer John Willatts, who gave Binghams Brewery its 2016 Champion Beer of Britain title for its Vanilla Stout.

Then, following a crowdfund in early 2018, the whole company was rebranded to establish an unequivocal link to Ascot races with each beer dressed in its own ‘racing silk’ to make it readily recognisable at the bar.

“You have got to stand out in today’s marketplace, and the racing theme resonates well,” said Davies. 

So well in fact that Ascot has outgrown its home and is now pursuing an ambitious strategy that aims to ‘own’ a tap at every pub within a 15-mile radius and become a regular guest at pubs within 30 miles – taking it into central London.

It is also working with wholesalers, including LWC, Small Beer, ABV and more, to widen its distribution. Its first canned beer, Front Runner APA, has just rolled off the line at a contractor. 

Davies is confident that the company will eventually have its own canning line and is drawing up an export strategy encouraged by the worldwide attention the branding gained at Paris food and drink exhibition SIAL in October.

“Everyone was blown away by the provenance we have in Ascot, and we’re looking at the overseas opportunities in a sensible fashion,” said Davies, who is also in process of expanding the sales and marketing department.

He believes, too, that the brewer has “something no one else has” in the shape of a new trademarked technology unveiled at the Pub 19 show earlier this month.

The Smart Pump Clip, which has been trialled at local pubs for the last six months, is equipped with an embedded chip that, when tapped by a smartphone, triggers on the device a 10-second video of head brewer Willatts talking about the beer.

“People who drink real ale want to know about the beer they’re drinking,” said Davies. “Publicans and their staff have to be able to tell a story about it and this gives them a platform to do that.

“We have already been approached by other brewers, including one or two quite large ones, about the idea.”

Phil Mellows
6h March 2019

Facebook Twitter Google LinkedIn Email