Brewing up a storm

RDPE funding brews up a storm

A Gloucestershire brewery is expanding its premises after being
awarded funding through the Rural Development Programme for England
(RDPE).

Stroud Brewery in Thrupp was established in 2006 and produces
unique, high quality beers using local ingredients. Its bottled
products are all organic and were given a commendation at this
year’s Soil Association Organic Food Awards.

The £100,000 grant, match funded by the brewery itself, will
enable the business to quadruple its brewing capacity and meet the
ever-growing demand for its award winning products, which are
stocked in pubs across the Cotswolds.

Greg Pilley, owner, said: “I have no ambition to grow very
large, but I would like to see the business big enough to support a
small team, say 5-6 people, making it sustainable in the long term.
Until now our permanent staff consisted of me and Ian Thorn, our
Head Brewer. If either of us takes a holiday, or on the rare
occasions we are ill, it puts the business under strain. This grant
will enable us to take on extra staff, brew more beer and continue
to invest in the local area.”

Stroud Brewery sources its malt from Warminster Maltings in
Wiltshire, Britain’s oldest working floor malting, where malt is
skilfully hand crafted using the same methods and tools employed
more than 100 years ago.

Greg said: “There is a lot of pressure from industrial maltings
which are offering much cheaper prices than local suppliers. But we
are committed to local malt, and by extending our brewery I can
continue this commitment. This means that the grant is not only
helping our business to grow, but also our suppliers in the region,
who will need to produce more to meet our demands.”

Business Link’s Rural Team is the main contact point for any
farm or land-based business in the South West looking for support
under RDPE. Since 2008 the organisation has helped over 400 farms
receive funding, with awarded grants ranging from £4,000 to £2
million.

Graham Thompson, a Business Link Rural adviser who helped Greg
with his RDPE application, said: “The RDPE grant is available to
many farms and rural businesses across the South West region. For
Stroud Brewery it has been particularly beneficial and the funding
is not only going to benefit the immediate business and its
employees – allowing it to expand and explore new markets – but it
will also have a huge affect on other businesses in the area and
support farmers who will grow the extra malting barley that Greg
will need .”

The extension of its premises is expected to be completed by
spring next year with the whole project to be completed by spring
2013. It will grow the capacity of Stroud Brewery, allowing a
threefold increase in production, and barley purchases will grow by
at least £60K by 2013 – an additional £600K over 10 years.

Greg, who was one of the founders of the Cotswold Craft Brewers,
said: “Business Link has been extremely helpful with the
application process. They can help you assess opportunities to
diversify and add value to your business.”

As well as the expansion of its brewing facilities, the grant is
also expected to fund an extension of its bottled products, new
roots to market via direct sales and wholesale, offsetting its
carbon footprint – saving up to 20 per cent in energy – and
creating at least two more jobs.

Contact the Business Link Rural team in Dorset, Gloucestershire,
West of England and Wiltshire by contacting 0845 600 9966 (calls
will be charged at local call charge rate) or visit www.businesslink.gov.uk/southwest/rural.

For more information about Stroud Brewery or its products call
Greg on 07891995878, email greg@stroudbrewery.co.uk or
visit http://www.stroudbrewery.co.uk/