St. Austell Brewery 

New Bottling Line & Visitor Centre -£0.6m

The St Austell Brewery Company was founded in 1851, and has grown and developed to become one of the largest employers in Cornwall, with an annual turnover in 2016 of £137 million. The company remains in private hands and is one of the longest established independent family brewers left in the UK.

Although the majority of the company’s turnover is derived from its tenanted properties and wholesale operations, the company is committed to continuing to brew its own ales. In order to respond to the challenges facing the UK brewing industry at the time, and to safeguard brewing activity at St Austell, it was clear that the company needed to take steps to access the growing off-trade market by producing packaged beers.

To this end the brewery was proposing to improve the viability of its brewing operation by extending its range of bottled beer and reducing the cost of production through the installation of a bottling line. In parallel, an investment was required in marketing and tasting facilities in order to improve customer awareness of the brands.

Without grant support, however, St Austell Brewery Company was unable to justify the required investment. We helped them secure £190,000 of funding from the DTI’s Selective Finance for Investment programme, and the first stage of the project was completed in early 2006. We liaised closely with the company’s accountants to produce financial projections, wrote a supporting business plan and carried out all negotiations with the funding team on the company’s behalf. We are proud to have been able to help St Austell Brewery secure the future of its brewing operation. 

Jeremy Mitchell, Head of Marketing at St Austell Brewery, said ‘Despite being one of the biggest companies in the region, and having significant resources of our own, De Facto’s expertise, support and professionalism made all the difference to the success of this project. They advised us to build on our original project idea and introduce a second, much-needed project which had been on our ‘back-burner’ for a long time. They helped us to develop this more significant programme of investment, and proceeded to secure the funding that meant we could make it happen. The result is a project that will expand and secure existing jobs and help create new employment in St Austell’s Brewing Department, help us to deliver increased productivity and sales, and also provide an additional resource to the South West. De Facto became an integral part of our team while the project and funding applications were being developed, and their input was invaluable.’ 

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