Beer pioneer in crowdfunding drive to expand

Growler founder Stuart Dinning is looking to move into Glasgow. Picture: Greg Macvean
Growler founder Stuart Dinning is looking to move into Glasgow. Picture: Greg Macvean
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SCOTLAND’S first draught beer takeaway business is set to launch a crowdfunding campaign to support major ­expansion plans.

Since Growler UK was launched in the Morningside district of Edinburgh in 2013 it has built up a customer base of 3,500 enthusiasts who buy keg and cask ale on draught and then take it home in a one-, two- or three-litre bottle known as a “growler”.

Now founder Stuart Dinning is looking to open a second shop in the capital, move into Glasgow and explore franchising potential for the business under an expansion push.

This month the company will launch a crowdfunding campaign on the Crowdcube platform where it will look to raise £120,000 to help fast-track its plans. “We know ­others are looking to come into the market and we want to now really build on what we’ve achieved to date with the brand,” said Dinning, a former chef who launched the com­pany after ten years of working in retail sales.

“We’ve learned a lot since launching and overcome teething problems around CO2 regu­lation in filling the bottles which we had initially and feel the time is now right to move to the next level.”

The success of Scottish craft beer firm Brewdog in raising £4.25 million for expansion through crowdfunding a year ago convinced Dinning that it is the best route for his firm to raise finance. Growler UK is planning to put up about 15-20 per cent of its equity to ­backers who will be able to invest as little as £10.

The business, which already markets its own brand lager brewed by Belhaven, is also about to launch its own beer brewed in-house.

Dinning said the reaction from brewers to the venture had been very positive.

“We now have them approaching us to take barrels. We have had a distributor for a couple of English brewers refuse to supply us because they see us as competition but most have been fine.”

As well as its retail shop, which offers a delivery service, Growler UK is also developing a mobile bar to take to festivals or to hire out for events.