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Purity co-founder Paul Halsey: BGF satisfies need for a long-term minority stakeholder







 

INTERVIEW: Paul Halsey, Purity Brewing Co

Following Purity Brewing Company’s £7.5 million deal with venture capitalist BGF, Phil Mellows spoke with Purity founder Paul Halsey about what the investment means for the Midlands brewer.

Why did you choose to go with a venture capitalist?

This is our first outside investment and we have had a lot of interest in the business from inside and outside the industry, but it was the complementary skill-sets, support and networks they offered as well as the money for growth that attracted us to BGF.

We were looking for a long-term minority stake in the business that would enable us to expand in the UK and into exports, and we wanted to stay independent, to continue to run the business as we want to run it. Independence is key to us, and BGF has enabled that.

How long is BGF committed to the business?

BGF likes long-term arrangements and is looking at five to seven years.

How will things change at the top?

BGF investor director Paul Oldham will join the board in a non-executive role alongside myself, co-founder Jim Minkin and non-executive chairman Simon Brown. Jim and I will still be the majority shareholders and we will continue to lead the business, though Jim will be taking the opportunity to step back a little from operations.

Will you be investing in new kit?

We’ll be adding more fermenting vessels and hope to increase our capacity by 50% over the next two or three years. New product development is important to us, too, and we have bought a 50-litre pilot kit from the US to enable us to play around with recipes. We have already used it to develop a session IPA, which we’re about to launch.

How will the BGF investment help you to extend distribution in the UK?

Until now we have always delivered direct and not used wholesalers. Now we have the potential for acquisitions and partnerships that will help us to grow sales in the North and the South East, for instance. We might work with a distributor to achieve that, but not another brewer.

We are already big customers of Mitchells & Butlers and Heineken UK, and BGF has given us introductions to on-trade customers they work with.

What’s your export strategy?

BGF will be able to help us with that, too. We already do a little in the Far East but we want exports to become a substantial, meaningful part of our business.

We’ll initially be looking at getting into northern Europe, Russia and Asia, finding the beers that will work in those markets. That’s one reason why NPD is important and in October, for instance, we’ll be collaborating with our friends at Maisel’s Brewery in Bavaria on a Helles-style lager.

Will you be increasing the workforce at the brewery?

Yes, we are working on building the team and have appointed Colin Cordy, the former managing director of St Peter’s Brewery, as our export manager.

29th August 2018

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