£20K backing for local beer venture

Merseyside Special Investment Fund (MSIF) has provided £20,000 in backing for the new, micro-brewery business Tap and Bottle, based in Southport.

The business was launched last August by self-confesses beer enthusiast Julian Burgess and and sells an impressive range of bottled and cask ales from local, national and international micro-breweries.

Customers can sample the delights on-site in the Tap and Bottle bar or purchase bottles to take and enjoy at home.

The latest investment from MSIF involved a £20,000 loan injection to aid growth plans, and Mr Burgess said:

“In recent years there has been an upsurge in the numbers of small scale/artisan micro-breweries and there are around 1,200 in the UK.

“However it can be quite difficult for them to sell their products in pubs owned by the larger breweries and I saw a gap in the market for an outlet to serve craft beers in a smaller, more intimate venue.

“Tap and Bottle has already built up a regular customer-base. We get lots of groups who come here to drink something a bit more unusual, different than you might get on your average night out at the pub.

“I am now looking to develop the business further by improving the upstairs and outside areas. We also want to offer beer tastings and meet the brewer events and are also going to start serving food. I am developing the website so that customers can order online.”

He added:

“The funding from MSIF has been crucial to my business as I was really struggling to raise finance elsewhere.”

MSIF chief operating officer Lisa Greenhalgh said:

“Julian thoroughly researched his market before coming to us with his business plan and we could see that this was a viable business with plenty of growth opportunities in the future.

“As a Southport resident myself, I know that Tap and Bottle has already developed a large following and the bar is always busy.

“New and original businesses like this should be supported as they are vital to economic growth.”

The company currently employs four staff and is on target to reach a turnover of £200,000 this year.

MSIF created an investment package using money from the Start Up Loans Programme and Regional Growth Fund resources.

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