Create to save: craft brewery claims £10,000 in R&D tax credits

Thornbridge Brewery

Craft beer maker Thornbridge Brewery has been rewarded for developing new flavours of beer with nearly £10,000 of R&D tax credits from the government.

The brewery’s innovation ethos has increased sales year on year to around £9m for the current financial year and landed more than 350 industry awards in the process.

In the last three years, Thornbridge Brewery has created a series of barrel-aged sour beers in bourbon and burgundy casks. Its recipes use wild yeast and different fruits such as cherry, raspberry and gooseberry to produce limited edition beers which sell in over 35 countries.

The company claimed its £10,000 R&D tax credits against the staff hours spent on recipe development and the production and trialling of new beers.

Launched in 2005 in Derbyshire, Thornbridge Brewery never made an R&D tax credit claim until it began talks with specialist tax relief consultancy, Catax.

Simon Walkden, Chief Operating Officer at Thornbridge, said: “Brewing is a capital-intensive business requiring investment in very expensive pieces of equipment so it is a huge help to be able to claim these tax credits.

“We brew more than 50 beers every year and package them in every different form from bottles and cans to traditional casks and kegs.

“I joined the company in 2015 and immediately thought there must be some R&D we can claim for here. We spoke to a couple of firms who didn’t give us the impression there was enough there.

“Then we met Catax who said we should definitely claim and were very bullish about it. They had previous experience in the brewing industry so were able to say with confidence what was applicable.

“We needed to prove the development of these new beer styles required overcoming a technical uncertainty. There’s nothing easy about creating a new beer so that didn’t pose a problem once we had the right guidance.”

Thornbridge now boasts a range of over 20 core beers but is constantly working on developing new exciting flavours, limited edition beers and, most recently, a low alcohol beer called Big Easy.

Mark Tighe, CEO of tax credit consultancy Catax, said: “Thornbridge is a great example of a company that, for years, was given the impression it wasn’t eligible for these valuable R&D tax credits.

“This is a common theme in the UK with far too many businesses either assuming R&D applies only to scientists or being given incorrect advice.

“Thornbridge’s amazing work investing in completely new beer-making processes and recipes, which has won it worldwide acclaim, has been rightfully rewarded under the government’s R&D scheme.

“There’s no doubt this has spurred the company on to continue creating more delicious beers for us all to enjoy.”

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