UK alcohol-free craft brewer seeks £700k in funding

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

Joelle and Sarah Drummond founded Drop Bear in 2019. Credit: Drop Bear Beer Co
Joelle and Sarah Drummond founded Drop Bear in 2019. Credit: Drop Bear Beer Co

Related tags Finance

Drop Bear Beer Co has started a fundraising campaign to secure £700,000 in a Convertible Loan Note (CLN) round.

The lead investor for this round is Henry Engelhardt's Wrightwood Investments.

Drop Bear was co-founded by married couple Joelle and Sarah Drummond in 2019 and has raised £2.1m in funding to date. The firm recently moved into the UK’s largest non-alcoholic brewery in Swansea and is now looking to propel its growth further.

The brewer produces carbon-neutral, vegan, low-calorie and gluten-free craft beers that have garnered more than 30 international awards. Drop Bear’s beers are listed by Tesco, Co-op and Ocado in the UK, while it operates a successful e-commerce platform.

The global alcohol-free beer market has experienced a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7% over the last four years, with Drop Bear’s revenue growth far exceeding that rate. Meanwhile, the UK non-alcoholic beer market is expected to reach a 9.63% CAGR from 2023 to 2027, amounting to a value of $540 million in 2027.

Engelhardt, the founder and former chief executive of Admiral Insurance, invested in Drop Bear in a previous round and is leading the current fundraise.

"The business is going from strength to strength, winning contracts, gaining sales, and soon they will start manufacturing the beer themselves – a big step for the business and a further test of their managerial competence​,” he said.

The official launch of Drop Bear’s newly acquired brewery in Swansea is set for 6 January 2024.

Food Manufacture spoke to the head of sales at Drop Bear, Simon Davies, in an interview during TasteWales / BlasCymru​, the international trade show held in Newport last month (October 2023).

Speaking to the firm’s plans for growth, Davies said that the brewer wants to have a presence in “every multiple grocer and have a strong export channel​” with five years.

“Our conversion rate and purchase rate via e-commerce is also ahead of the category average by quite some margin​,” he added.

In other news, Greencore has agreed a new five-year £350m revolving credit facility.

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