London-based craft brewer Hop Stuff is ending a crowdfunding drive almost two weeks early after smashing its £400k target by more than £300k.
The brewer initially offered up 2.81% of its equity, valuing the company at £25m, for the drive, which kicked off on January 26. At the time of writing it had raised £764,170 from 1010 investors, with the money raised set to fund the brewery’s growing taproom estate.
“The first priority now is taprooms,” said Hop Stuff founder James Yeomans. “We’re negotiating two sites currently, including a big one in central London we’re trying to get over the line now – a deal could be done as early as the end of this month.
“That site has a healthy lease premium, would probably cost £200k of the fund immediately, but we’ve looked at it and think it could be a £2m or £3m per year site, which, if it comes off, will blow all our forecasts completely out of the water and leave us in a really good place.”
While the on-trade still accounted for c90% of Hop Stuff’s business, the purchase of a new canning line last year meant its retail business would likely grow, said Yeomans. “Supermarkets is a funny one, but it’s an exciting opportunity to reach more investors and get our beer into more people’s hands.”
It marks the third crowdfunding drive from Hop Stuff. The previous round, in December 2016, raised £744k, well above its £500k target. At that time the company was valued at £5.5m, and funds raised went towards a considerable expansion of its production facilities.
It had been “another brilliant round”, said Yeomans. “Every time we do this we get quite nervous, because you never know how the public are going to respond. But we’re incredibly happy with where we’ve got to.”
The brand may seek to crowdfund again in future, he said, having just taken on a member of staff whose sole responsibility is shareholder engagement. “We’re not ruling out a fourth or even a fifth round. And we’re trying to change our business to increase the involvement with our investors.”
The brewery plans to launch an as-yet-unnamed New England IPA (7%) made with Simcoe and Mosaic hops in early March, and will bring back its limited edition Vienna lager, Freudian Strip, in 440ml cans.