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BrewDog and Cult Wines on fast-track to success

Published:  07 December, 2017

Scotland’s largest independent brewer, a northern pub and restaurant operator and London based fine wine merchant are the three stand out drinks companies to have made it into this year’s list of the UK’s fastest growing businesses.

The Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100 league table which ranks Britain’s 100 private companies with the fastest-growing sales over their latest three years, has this year featured Cult Wines, New World Trading Company (NWTC) and BrewDog as its among its ranks.

According to the annual rankings, Cult Wines saw the largest annual sales rise of the three companies over the period, rising by 69.52% over the past three years and coming in at number 40 in the list.

The South West London-based company is notable for managing international fine wine investments to the tune of £55m.

The company, which was set up by former investment banker Phil Gearing and son Tom Gearing in 2007, last year opened a base in Hong Kong, helping sales hit £34.2m in 2017.

It next plans to launch Cult Wines in China.

Meanwhile, ever-expanding upmarket pub chain NWTC came in at number 56 on the list with sales having risen by 60.56% since 2014.

Under chief executive Chris Hill, NWTC runs 20 venues, including the Botanist, famed for its herb-based cocktails, and the Smuggler’s Cove, a pirate-themed bar in Liverpool.

The Knutsford-based company was spun out from restaurant group Living Ventures in 2013, backed by private equity firms LDC and Hill Capital Partners, and changed ownership again in June last year, when Graphite Capital acquired the company for £50m.

Group sales grew to £40.1m this year.

BrewDog, which came appeared on the list at number 62, was notable for appearing in the list for the sixth year in a row – a record achievement.

The Aberdeenshire brewer was valued at £1bn in April after having a “banner year” in 2016, when the brewery saw a 97% surge in sales.

Since being founded in 2007 by James Watt and Martin Dickie, it has expanded to Australia and Asia and opened 15 craft beer venues in the UK, thanks to its Equity for Punks crowdfunding initiative.

James Watt, BrewDog co-founder said the company’s six-year listing “speaks volumes about the thirst for awesome craft beer both in the UK and internationally, and we couldn’t have landed this incredible milestone without the support of our community of craft beer renegades.

“Our focus for the next 12 months is all about taking our mission truly global with launches into Asia and Australia and beyond, whilst continuing to support the growth of the exciting, eclectic craft beer scene in Europe.”