Award-winning brewery toasts next stage in growth strategy

Left to right: Andy Chaffer, Finance Yorkshire, Grahame Lunt, Finance Yorkshire, Chris Ives, Ilkley Brewery

A West Yorkshire based brewery is set to increase production by more than a third to meet demand from both its home and overseas markets.

A £150,000 Business Loan from Finance Yorkshire has enabled Ilkley Brewery to invest in fermentation and automatic cask filling equipment which will boost production capacity by some 33 per cent at its Ashlands Road premises.

The majority of the brewery’s business – about 80 per cent – centres on the delivery of its award-winning real ales in cask to pubs within a 50-mile radius of Ilkley. It also supplies its bottled beers to several of the supermarket multiples in Yorkshire including Booths, Morrisons and Asda.

However, there is great potential to grow the company’s international trade after an initial and successful shipment of its bottled beers – including the flagship ‘Mary Jane’ – to the US last year. Ilkley Brewery has also exported to Scandinavia and now plans to grow its markets in Sweden and Norway.

Chris Ives, Managing Director of Ilkley Brewery, said: “The UK market for beers is very competitive and so it’s important we maintain our existing supply, grow and expand the markets we supply as well as look at new ones like the US.

“We want to grow as much as we can and compete on quality and our people are passionate about what we do and that has helped enormously in our success in a relatively short period of time.

“The Finance Yorkshire funding will help us in the next stage of our growth plans – part of the reason to increase our production capacity is so we can increase our exports.”

Chris launched Ilkley Brewery in 2009, switching career paths completely after a 30-year spell in commercial property. The first of many award wins and listings with major supermarkets gave the business increased visibility and credibility, resulting in a move to a larger brewery in 2011.

The company now employs 14 and has plans to recruit more staff in the coming months. Its latest award win was at the Insider’s Made in Yorkshire Awards in which the brewery triumphed in the food and drink manufacturer category.

Andy Chaffer, Investment Manager at Finance Yorkshire, said: “Since its launch, Ilkley Brewery has grown exponentially, supported by a solid business strategy and a real passion among both those at the helm and those employed in the day to day brewing of its beers.

“The Finance Yorkshire funding will enable the brewery to move to the next level, increasing production significantly but on a sustainable basis for the longer term benefit of the business.”

Finance Yorkshire provides seedcorn, loan and equity linked investments, ranging from £15,000 to £2m to help a range of small and medium sized businesses to meet their funding requirements for growth and development.

To date Finance Yorkshire has made 513 investments totalling over £62 million.

The project is supported financially by the European Union. It has attracted £30million investment from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme, £15million from UK Government and £45million match funding from the European Investment Bank.

For more information about Finance Yorkshire, please visit or call 0845 649 0000.

Note: this news article is from Finance Yorkshire’s previous fund. Read more about Finance Yorkshire