News

Local brewery taps into Microloan Fund to enable expansion

Emma Neal

15 Jul 2015

A microbrewery based in Bishop Auckland, has secured a £25,000 cash injection from the Finance for Business North East Microloan Fund, a regional loan scheme that gives small companies with solid business plans the boost they need to grow.

Black Paw Brewery manufactures and distributes real ale, also known as craft beer. The brewery is tapping into an increasingly trendy and growing market with people more and more turning to small, local brands for unique tasting craft beers.

The brewery sells their casks of speciality ale both locally and nationally, whilst also producing bottles and mini casks to be sold directly to local businesses and at Farmers and Christmas markets.

The Director, Phil Whitfield, set-up Black Paw in July 2011, converting an empty industrial unit in Bishop Auckland into a brewery.  Whilst working for the NHS for the past twenty years, Phil had always pursued his interest in real ale, brewing at home whenever he got the chance and aspiring to one day create his own brand.

The company has been successful from the off, which Phil credits to the capacity of his brewery in comparison to his competitors. Black Paw can produce 1600 litres of beer in a single brew, giving Phil the freedom to produce six year round beers along with numerous seasonal products.

Phil was encouraged by his business mentor to apply to the Microloan Fund to increase his amount of working capital. The cash investment will enable him to grow the business substantially in numerous directions. Phil intends to set up an E-Commerce site for his business so that he can send his products by post and he would also like to begin to export Black Paw’s real ale. Overall, he envisages that the loan will allow him to triple his turnover within three years and possibly purchase new premises.

Commenting on the process of obtaining the funding, Phil praised the team at Rivers Capital Partners and how easy it was, saying that “The staff are really helpful and friendly and the process is very open and honest.” He also sees the Microloan as a good alternative to mainstream lenders.

Nikita Bazko, Fund Manager at Rivers Capital Partners, said: “It has been a pleasure working with Phil, who shows a real passion for what he does.

“Turning a hobby into a business is something a lot of people dream of doing, and we're happy that the Microloan Fund was there to help him take Black Paw beer to the next step”.

The North East Microloan Fund provides small loans of £1,000-£25,000 that make a big difference to businesses in the region. The Fund is ideal for inspired individuals who know that lack of finance is the missing link that is holding their business back.

The Fund is specifically aimed at businesses that have been struggling to secure mainstream finance and can provide affordable credit for those with a poor credit history. A loan fund run by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, the decision to provide a loan is not based the company’s assets but rather the overall quality of the business. This makes for a speedy, hassle-free application process, guided by professionals every step of the way.


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