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By the Horns' founders Alex Bull and Chris Mills: unable to push volumes because of existing production constraints

By The Horns targets growth via crowdfunding

One of the first players to arrive on London’s booming craft beer scene, Wandsworth’s By the Horns Brewing is looking to raise £350,000 on the Crowdcube website.

It is targeting a doubling of its brewlength and adding enough fermenting capacity to be able to brew three times a day. And all of this is to take place on a to-be-identified new location for the brewery.

It’s currently brewing only four times a week on an 11.5-barrel kit and its beers are distributed nationally by wholesaler Matthew Clark and in four export markets. They’re also on the shelves at Marks & Spencer.

“We’ve tried to give our brand a broad reach in terms of where our beers are sold – but we can’t push volumes because of production constraints,” explained head brewer Alex Bull, who founded the business with Chris Mills in 2011. “So we want to massively upgrade the brewhouse into something that’s easily scalable.

“We’ve started talking to potential suppliers and looking at what other brewers are doing in the UK. We’d like to get cracking as soon as possible then it’ll be another six to eight months before we have everything set up.”

The search is on for a location for the new brewery. According to information provided on Crowdcube, By The Horns is looking to lease an 8,000 square foot premise on the outskirts of London. There they’ll house a 3.5 hectolitre brewery capable of three brews per day, as well as canning and bottling lines.

Bull and Mills won’t be giving up their current home. They plan to continue to brew there on an ‘experimental’ scale and open a brewing school aimed at people who want to learn the basics in a day, and home brewers who want to hone their skills.

“It will be good to engage with the home brewing community and create a forum where we can exchange ideas,” said Bull.

They also want to enhance the offer at their existing tap room, introducing food.

That all depends on By the Horns hitting its cash target, of course, but Bull is already seeing advantages in taking the crowdfunding route.

“It’s attracting great interest in the brewery and it gives people who love our beer a chance to be a part of the story. It’s fantastic the way it’s engaged our followers and it’s given us some great PR.”

Another part of the plan is to recruit an experienced head brewer and give Bull himself an opportunity hand over responsibility for production and focus on growing the business alongside an expanded sales team.

He believes By the Horns is already well-placed to do that.

“The term ‘craft beer’ didn’t exist when we started, and I think we started at the right time - it gave us a bit of a lead on the rest of the market,” he said.

“We have attracted a broad customer base and we want to hire brand ambassadors to work with them and make the most of those relationships.”

As of 26th September, By The Horns’ Crowdcube pitch had attracted £66,450, almost 20% of its £350,000 target. To date there have been 155 investors with £10,050 the largest amount from a single investor.

Phil Mellows
28th September 2017

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