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Big Drop crowdfunds to assist alcohol-free beer expansion globally

Alcohol-free brewer Big Drop is launching a crowdfunding campaign to support further draught listings and expand its brewing model globally.

The crowdfunding will be available to get involved with via the Seedrs platform and has a £450k target giving the business a ‘pre-money valuation’ of £11.3m.

This follows a switch last year from contract brewing in the UK to brewing-under-licence when Big Drop entered a partnership with In Good Company (IGC), the owner of both the Fourpure and Magic Rock beer brands that had previously been sold to Australian beer giant Lion and were reinstated as SIBA members once they returned to their craft roots. Big Drop has also been on the expansion drive already after broadening its range of alcohol-free beers on draught with a big focus on pubs and bars in London, Manchester and Liverpool.

According to a statement from the brewer: “The model means that both parties benefit: IGC brews and sells the beer; Big Drop utilises the brewery’s sales team and, with minimal expenses, can invest heavily in growth capital.”

The new funds will be used to replicate the licence model in other regions, such as the US, where Big Drop has been contract brewing since 2021 and where various breweries have expressed interest in taking a licence.

Additionally, elsewhere, a new brewing partner in Singapore has been awarded a licence and will act as an export hub for South East Asia and, likewise, a licence has been awarded in Australia.

Speaking about the decision, Big Drop co-founder Rob Fink said: “The licence model works. Contract brewing, or running a brewery, whilst also trying to invest significant marketing dollars on growth is no longer a viable business model, as it was pre-2022. By leveraging a brewing partner’s production and sales capacity, we don’t need to spend cash on working capital but instead can concentrate our investment on growing the brand, just as we have done in the UK.”

In the UK, Big Drop’s focus on growth includes supporting draught listings as it signs-up more pub groups to join the likes of Mitchells & Butlers and Hall & Woodhouse.

Fink added: “Pouring a pint of alcohol-free beer from a bar-top font helps destigmatise any remaining notions that it is somehow an inferior option to an alcoholic beer. We have a plan to encourage trial in pubs through merchandise, competitions and that old favourite: free beer. And from a purely financial point of view, having Big Drop on draught will mean more sales – a whopping 95% of beer sales in pubs are on draught.”

Speaking to db last year, Fink highlighted how contract brewing had worked well for the busines while initially establishing Big Drop, but admitted that looking towards the longer term it made sense to partner with IGC to grow and build the brand.

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