News - 13 October 2014

D2N2 helps Derbyshire brewery raise a glass as expansion leads to new jobs

An award-winning Derbyshire Brewery is to expand its premises and workforce after securing grant funding from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership.

Thornbridge Brewery owner Jim Harrison has put in place an expansion plan costing over £400,000 to increase capacity at the Bakewell site and capitalise on the opportunities within the export market.

It will create eight new jobs, taking the total of full-time employees to 38, but the project has been made possible thanks to a £78,000 grant from D2N2’s Unlocking Investment for Growth programme, which is backed by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, to bridge the funding gap to get the plan off the ground.

It will see an expansion of the Brew House to increase production by up to 100%, added cellarage with six new vessels for storage, and a new automated kegging facility.

Jim Harrison, Owner and CEO of Thornbridge Brewery, said: “The whole team at the brewery have worked exceptionally hard to create a product that is really valued in the marketplace and we have therefore been able to drive our sales up quickly, year after year, to the point where we simply cannot brew any more.

“We are passionate about brewing and believe we can only continue to grow by controlling every aspect of what we do – so we need to brew more.

“With this new investment, and the grant in particular, we can purchase the kit we need to quickly increase brewing to keep pace with demand.”

After a 30-year business background in engineering, Mr Harrison set up his brewery business in 2005 after buying the Thornbridge Hall Estate with his wife Emma in 2002.

Initially set up in one of the Hall’s outbuildings, the growth of the business led to them opening their state-of-the-art Riverside Brewery in Bakewell in 2009.

Exports account for 30% of the brewery’s revenue, with America, Sweden, Italy, Japan and Australia among its key markets abroad and the expansion will see the company increase volume in existing markets as well as moving into untapped areas such as China or India where demand is potentially huge.

David Ralph, Chief Executive of D2N2, said: “This is a high-profile business in the Bakewell area that has grown strongly in recent years. The business has invested heavily in the second brewing site at Bakewell to further increase production and more capacity is now required to meet the increasing demand for their products, particularly in their export markets.

“This is a necessary project for the business and there is no doubt that without the grant funding the project would be significantly diminished in terms of size and speed of delivery.”

D2N2 – the local enterprise partnership for Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire – secured £5m from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, topped up further by the European Regional Development Fund, to help businesses grow through its Unlocking Investment for Growth (UI4G) programme.

Since launching in 2013, the programme has approved £3.2 million in grant funding which will create more than 300 jobs.  Further applications that are at an advanced stage are requesting in excess of £1.6m and expect to create an additional 200 jobs.

But it is a time-bound opportunity, with capital projects having to be completed by March 2015.

The programme will provide a grant in support of capital investment projects with a minimum overall project value of £200,000.  In exceptional circumstances up to £500,000 of grant funding is available for projects that can demonstrate real potential to create new jobs.

For more information, go to www.d2n2lep.org/UI4G, or call 01332 826366 or email UI4G@embltd.co.uk

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