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Ben Morgan-Smith and Toby Chantrell: venture backed by £390,000 raised in crowdfunding push  

BrewBroker launches novel capacity utilisation scheme

A new online platform launching this spring aims to matchmake brewers with spare capacity to those who need it.

BrewBroker, unveiled at Craft Beer Rising 2018, is the brainchild of brewery marketing consultant Toby Chantrell and digital entrepreneur Ben Morgan-Smith who have secured £390,000 in funding through CrowdCube to get their idea off the ground.

It enables brewers looking for short-term extra capacity in production and packaging, and pubs and restaurants sourcing own-label beers, to search for a supplier that can best meet their needs.

The system will eventually include tendering and quotation templates to standardise the process and make it simpler and quicker for a business to find the right match, and suppliers will also be able to de-risk the deal by auditing their potential customer.

The concept has already attracted 85 brewers offering spare capacity in production and packaging including Harbour, Hog’s Back and Laine, along with some 70 brewers, pubs and restaurants that are interested in sourcing a supply partner.

A pilot project with Sour Fingers Brewing Co brought the start-up together with the Brewhouse & Kitchen brewpub chain, which provided contract brewing and bottling, and Kegstar which arranged the kegging, helping take the hobby brewers to a commercial level in just six weeks.

“There’s a need for this kind of service,” said Morgan-Smith. “Something that can coordinate what’s already happening in the industry and make it more efficient.

“Our brewing industry currently has no way to easily communicate and trade within itself. From giant brewers at the top to the small craft and entrepreneur brewers in their infancy, there is no one place to go to expand.

“A lot of brewers need a bridge, a short-term solution to satisfying demand as they scale up, while others need access to different kinds of packaging to meet the needs of their customers.

“Pubs and restaurants want own-brand products, but it’s a pain. Where do they find a reliable supply? BrewBroker can help them, too.”

Over the coming weeks, tender and quotation tools will be developed to speed decision-making and make it easier for businesses to compare potential suppliers. A recipe development tool will also be included, along with an escrow payment system.

Phil Mellows
23rd February 2018

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