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Brewpub group reports strong sales and 'Academy' up-take

Published:  09 February, 2017

On-site brewery and restaurant business Brewhouse & Kitchen is an example of a business at the forefront of the craft beer boom.

Fusing the desire for locally sourced products with a premium setting, the group stocks 150 artisanal beers and also brews its own beer on site.

While rapidly expanding from seven sites at the end of 2015 to 14 in 2017, the group is also celebrating a strong set of end of year results, with overall sales growing £3.821 million to £8.815 million in 2016 (+76%).

Like-for-like sales (for the five pubs which were operating throughout 2015 and 2016) grew by 28%.

The split of food to alcohol sales varies across the sites - with food leading in some venues and alcohol in others.

But even with the food, the emphasis is on beer.

"Beer is brewed on site and everything on our food menu is paired with a beer recommendation," Matt Priesenger, head of marketing explained.

"Each of our menus are cooked with a beer in mind, which is a point of difference we can offer.

"Food is also a really important part of the mix. It's what makes it premium. People see that it's a place that they can have a great meal but also a great range of alcohol too."

While beer forms the backbone of the business, the success they've had with a summer gin and tonic menu has paved the way for plans to expand their wine and spirits ranges in 2017.

The group has also had strong take-up of its brewery experience or 'Academy' packages, consisting of two-hour long brewery masterclass sessions and micro-brewery experience days.

Sales of these brought in revenues of £470,000 in 2016, up 101% on the year before.

As well their Academy, their USP is that each site has its own specialist brewer who makes his or her own recipes - a "point of difference" which is essential for the new wave of discerning beer fans.

The company's strong start might be expected from a new company thanks to a bankable concept and a team of young innovators with their ears to the ground.

As Priesenger reflects, with a number of new sites lined up for 2017, the challenge will be to keep this agility as they grow.

"Having a point of difference is the biggest driver of growth for us. The fact that we brew our recipes on site and make beer that you can't get anywhere is a big part of that.

"There's so much going on in terms of innovation and disruption - our job is to be agile enough to keep up. It's all about being fresh and interesting."