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Five Points co-founder and MD Ed Mason: funds will be used to treble production

Five Points seeks crowdfunding to cover all points

Hackney’s Five Points Brewing Co has set a goal of becoming “a truly national brand” should a campaign to crowdfund £750,000 hit its target.

The launch of the equity offer to the general public has, however, been postponed while the brewer’s existing fan base are being offered “first dibs” to buy shares via a private link to the Crowdcube web page, said co-founder and managing director Ed Mason.

That should give the campaign a flying start when it gets fully underway, probably on March 19th, he added.

The brewery has been struggling to keep up with demand after reaching capacity in late 2016. It has since been brewing some beers at an independent family-owned brewery in Belgium.

The money will be used to treble production capacity at Five Points’ existing site, which expanded into a neighbouring railway arch last year, and to open the company’s first brewery tap at the nearby Pembury Tavern.

“Hackney Council gave us planning permission before Christmas to install 100-hectolitre fermenting tanks in the yard, and we’ll be adding a whirlpool to the brewhouse that will enable us to go from two brews a day to three,” Mason explained.

“We’re also getting out first centrifuge which will accelerate the process by reducing the time beer is held in the tank from two weeks to 10 days, and give us a higher yield, too.”

Improvements will be made to the existing canning line and cask washer alongside necessary building work being carried out on the 16,000 square feet site to prepare it for the new equipment.

The fermenters and whirlpool will be supplied by Gravity Systems while the centrifuge will come from from GEA. Everything, Mason hopes, will be running by the end of June and increase annual capacity to 34,000 hectolitres a year.

At the same time, a research and development brew kit will be installed in the recently-purchased Pembury Tavern, which is, conveniently, two minutes from the brewery on the five-way junction the company is named after.

“It will be a facility where our brewers can experiment, and we’ll put those beers on as exclusives for the pub,” said Mason. “We’ll also be barrel-aging there to add a bit of theatre.”

The pub will help keep Five Points firmly rooted in the locality as it uses its expanded capacity to extend distribution of its beers. Some 85% of sales are within the M25 with most of the rest coming from pockets where the company has partnerships – in Yorkshire, the North West and Scotland.

“There are a lot of dry spots for us around the country and that’s the opportunity for expansion.”

Currently only 1% of production is exported, and that will be another target. But those ambitions won’t distract the brewer from its role in the Hackney community, Mason assured.

“We’ve always celebrated the fact we’re in the heart of east London and not on some industrial estate at the edge of town, and as we grow the business into a truly national craft beer company, we’ll continue to give back to and support the community.

“We will remain a proud London Living Wage payer, continue to invest in our apprenticeship scheme for trainee brewers, and support local charity and arts projects.”

The decision to crowdfund in two stages, giving loyal customers exclusive early-bird access, is another sign of how Five Points feels about its supporters.

“One of the things we love about crowdfunding is that you can bring your fan-base on board and as part of that process, talk to them about what you’ve achieved so far and where you want to take the business,” said Mason.

“Rather than it being only about rewards, as some crowdfunding campaigns are, it’s an equity-based investment, so people can have a share in a growing company.”

Phil Mellows
12th March 2018

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