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York, East Riding, North Yorkshire

Case Study: Wold Top Brewery

Published: January 2015

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Left to right: Martin Overfield, Smailes Goldie Accountants; Ian Atkinson, Finance Yorkshire; Kate Balchin, Alex Balchin, Gill Mellor and Tom Mellor, Wold Top Brewery

The Mellor family has farmed 600 acres on the Yorkshire Wolds for generations but diversified into beer when traditional revenue streams declined. Its award-winning beers, produced from a converted barn, include Wold Top Bitter and the award-winning Wold Gold.

The Company

Tom Mellor, Managing Director, runs the business with his wife Gill. Their daughter and son-in-law, Kate and Alex, also work in the business. Around 15 per cent of Wold Top’s bottled ales are exported, with demand from beer lovers in Europe and Canada. It also operates Agricola Bottling, which bottles beer for a number of breweries, including Ilkley Brewery and Saltaire Brewery.

The Challenge

The business required finance to further develop its contract brewing and bottling, in order to reduce its reliance on the cask ale market. Tom explained: “It’s a competitive market. Thousands of pubs have shut yet there are more micro-breweries than ever before. You have to be innovative so we are investing in contract bottling.”

Finance Yorkshire Involvement

Finance Yorkshire provided a £150,000 Business Loan from, which will be split 50/50 between the brewery and Agricola Bottling. The investment will assist in the installation of a mezzanine floor and a second filtration system that enables beer to be placed into kegs and bottles at the same time.

The Investment Rationale

Finance Yorkshire Investment Manager Ian Atkinson said: “Wold Top Brewery has experienced an impressive first decade but it needed investment to keep up with demand for its beer and bottling services. The new equipment will transform production capacity as it targets further growth both in the UK and overseas.”

Future Expectations

Tom said: “The new brewing equipment will enable us to produce almost the same amount of beer in one day as we currently do in a week. We will also be able to contract-brew beer for other brewers when they are at maximum production levels.

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