Big Drop turns to crowdfunding to accelerate growth
Big Drop Brewing is launching a crowdfunding campaign with the aim of making its alcohol-free craft beers more accessible in the UK, as well as planning to expand globally.
The brewer is inviting beer lovers and small investors to own a stake in the company, which claims to be the world’s first dedicated alcohol-free craft brewer. Investors can pledge from £50 to £50,000 (and beyond) to become part of Big Drop’s success story, and to gain access to a host of benefits.
The company, which has secured 26 major international beer awards since its launch in 2016, hopes to tap into further growth in the non-alcoholic beer sector, which is expected to reach more than $25 billion by 2024 (Global Market Insights).
Sales grew 775% in 2018 and in 2019 Big Drop made and sold more than one million bottles of beer. The range is now sold in Tesco, Ocado, Holland & Barrett, Bolaget (Sweden), Albert Hiejn (Holland) and via online retailers.
The Seedrs campaign, which will launch in February 2020, will offer investor perks such as an online discount code for merchandise, tickets to Big Drop’s Summer Family event, Festival tickets and summer VIP camping; and for £25,000 investors are offered a Big Drop Brew Day with the Master Brewer, creating a personalised brew; while for £50,000 they can get a Swedish Brewery tour as a hosted trip to visit one of Big Drop’s key partner countries.
Big Drop was founded in London in 2016 by former city lawyer Rob Fink and his friend entrepreneur James Kindred. The duo also recruited renowned experimental brewer Johnny Clayton (ex-Wild Beer) to perfect the “radical new brewing technique” to produce 0.5% abv beer without any need to remove alcohol, which it said, preserves 100% of the taste. In addition, the new approach uses rye, wheat and oats as well as barley, a mix of 20 specialty grains across seven beers.
Fink said: “There’s always been alcohol-free beer but it has never been any good before. We wanted to fix that. We started this company because our own lifestyles had changed. James and I had recently become fathers, and the lower-alcohol beer we wanted just wasn’t there.
“We knew there were a lot of people who felt exactly the same way as we did. We realised we could create not jut the beer we wanted, but a community of like-minded people too. What if we could do for alcohol-free beer what the craft beer revolution had done for, well, beer?”
The aim of the crowdfunding campaign is to make the beer “even more accessible” in the UK, by creating a draught offer and expanding further into festivals and events across the UK. It will also be investing in changing popular conceptions about alcohol-free beer, and it hopes to expand more globally, specifically into the Australian and American markets.
Big Drop has already invested in a decentralised production model, whereby they partner with breweries around the world to produce their beer. This means the beer is fresher as it is brewed locally, but also it means there is less need for haulage and therefore it reduces global carbon emissions.
Fink said: “We can increase customer awareness, build up our capacity and expand our catchment area, especially on draught.
“The goal is to make sure that Big Drop is on tap right next to your favourite craft beer. We want people to be as confident ordering it as any full-strength beer.
“But most of all we want people to feel part of what we do.
“We started this company to make beers that we wanted to drink and we are still proudly independent. With investment from people who love our beers, we can take them around the world.”