Chapel Down reveals ‘strong’ half-year results

English winery Chapel Down has revealed its half-year results which show strong growth across its wine, beer and cider portfolio.

Released late last month, the results show total year-on-year sales rising 22% to £4.9 million, while sales of Chapel Down wines went up 29% to £3.3m and sales of beer and cider from Curious Drinks rose 8% to over £1m.

Gross profits from wine were up 24% to £1.2m and beer and cider profits went up 18% to £558,000.

With earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, the company hopes to reinvest £235,000 in its brands, infrastructure and supply, while 50 acres of new vineyards have also been planted in Kent and anew brewery is currently under construction.

Frazer Thompson (pictured), chief executive of Chapel Down, commented: “We are focused on delivering strong top line growth at good margins to ensure we can continue to build strong and sustainable brands that our consumers and customers love. Interest in English wines – and Chapel Down in particular – has never been higher and is exciting the wine world as we help to grow the sparkling wine market as well as innovate and surprise with our still wines.

“We are planting more vines on some truly outstanding land, while improving our winemaking and equipment and systems. We continue to develop our people and brands. We are encouraged by the prospect of a good harvest in 2017, despite early fears of significant frost damage, with very high quality fruit, which will enable us to continue to improve the quality of our wines and help us meet future demand at the premium end of the market.”

The strength of the wine portfolio was partially explained by the company’s sponsorship of the Oxford & Cambridge Boat Race, as well as, “a sharpening of our presentation, and continuing growth in the quality of our wines in trade.”Growth came from across the domestic and export markets, with a “very encouraging development” in the US where the brand has been receiving good exposure in New York, Texas and the rest of New England.

The company said it was “delighted” by the continued performance of its beer and cider brands in the premium on- and off-trades.

It said in a statement: “We have national distribution through Majestic and Waitrose in the off-trade and a network of wholesalers including Matthew Clark that enables us to get Curious beers in draught or bottles to the whole of Great Britain. We are supplying M&B, EI Group, Food and Fuel and a number of up and coming small groups.”The company said it was “optimistic” about the medium and long-term growth of the business, especially with the momentum currently behind English wines.

Although it did not expect “explosive growth” for its Curious line of drinks, it did forecast continued and increased growth in 2018; helped along by the new brewery as well as a brand overhaul and anticipated new listings.

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