Business Leader recently sat down with Chris Davies, Managing Director of multi-award winning brewery, Ascot Brewing Company, to talk about the company’s incredible decade, its future plans, and the company’s new Tap Room – a new 8,500 sq ft event space and brewery that is open as a new premium business venue for the South East.
Can you give us an overview of the company?
Ascot Brewing Company is a producer of exciting, award-winning real ales and experimental, hop forward craft beers. By brewing with unbridled passion and unbounded enthusiasm, our mission is to deliver supreme customer satisfaction through remarkable beverages and memorable brewery experiences.
We have been brewing in Camberley, Surrey for more than ten years and recently moved the brewery to an 8,500 sq ft unit. Our 20 tap, elevated tap room is located on a 2,500 sq ft mezzanine floor where you can see all the brewing action unfold whilst drinking delicious tasting beer.
What separates Ascot Brewing from the competition?
A successful brewery isn’t just about making great beer – it needs great people. That’s why we recruited an elite brewer, John Willatts, a former CAMRA Champion Brewer of Britain (2016). Since he’s joined the team, he’s successfully refined the original Ascot recipes and developed new batches to elevate the entire Ascot stable.
How would you describe the growth of the company?
The recent and very promising growth of the brewery has been down to blood, sweat and beers. Doubling revenues each of the last two years has been achieved by concentrating on our strengths – brewing great tasting beers and strengthening our loyal customer base through pubs, bars, clubs and our original in-house Tap Room, The Black Horse.
Can you tell me about the company’s new Tap Room?
When looking to relocate the brewery we wrote up a wish list. Over 7,500 sq ft, plenty of head room, easily accessible with multiple transport links.
Amazingly just half a mile away we found 4 Lawrence Way. And even more remarkable was the fact the previous business had built a 2,500 sq ft mezzanine floor. After persuading the landlord to let us keep the mezzanine floor, we embarked on building what we hoped would be a truly immersive beer drinking experience.
A Tap Room high up in the brewery, where you can stand against the balustrade and see all the brewing processes take place whilst you taste all the amazing flavours
and aromas that culminate in a truly elevated feeling.
What are your future plans?
We wouldn’t be where we are without our very supportive 700+ shareholders. Ascot Brewing Company has run two successful crowdfunding campaigns. In our first raise we overfunded by 35% and then the Ascot 2 raise by 23%.
Raising over £500,000 in total we have used the money wisely to get where we are today. In our last raise we said we would double our revenue, move the brewery and buy new larger brewing equipment. We achieved all three and more than that we successfully launched our craft beer brand, Disruption is Brewing, and built ‘probably’ the largest brewery tap room in the South East.
We plan more of the same and now with three revenue streams (Ascot Brewing, Disruption is Brewing® and the Tap Room) in place we can really start galloping to even greater success.
We are actively developing our latest crowdfunding pitch (Ascot 3) and will use Crowdcube once more. We will use the money to grow our sales and marketing team, promote the Tap Room and push forward into the export market.
Finally, we will maximise the assets we have using the uniqueness of our Tap Room to attract corporate events by giving clients something different by way of a meeting experience. Most companies I have worked for use the same old hotel groups, reception halls and bland buildings with no heart or rememberability. With the Ascot Brewing Tap Room as an option, no longer can management be accused of not being able to organise a p*ss up in a brewery!