Windswept Brewing Co and Wooha Brewing Co are forging ahead with expansion plans following successful awards from a government initiative to support businesses in Scotland.
With support and guidance from Business Gateway in Elgin, both companies were able to apply and secure funding from Business Loans Scotland (BLS).
Windswept Brewing Co received £35,000 from BLS towards plans to create a visitor centre and brewery tap at its Lossiemouth site along with more suitable office space. This will allow Windswept to set up regular tours for the large number of tourists to the area, as well as put on special events for locals and tourists alike. The long-term aim is to grow to capacity in the current location before building a new brewery that will enable production capacity to increase ten-fold.
The company was founded by Nigel Tiddy and Al Read who are both retired RAF Tornado pilots, driven by their passion for the outdoors and inspired by the enjoyment of that first beer when you have spent a day pushing yourself to the limit.
Commenting on the award, Nigel said: “The loan is a very welcome boost to enable us to implement our plans and we think it also reflects our product strapline – Best when you’ve earned it. We have worked hard to build our business since 2012, and we don’t want to stop here.”
Wooha Brewing Co received £50,000 from BLS in addition to funding from both HSBC and Highlands and Islands Enterprise earlier this year. The loan will be used towards kitting out and optimising its new larger production facility in Kinloss where the company moved a few months ago. Founder and owner, Heather McDonald said: “Our new site means we can increase production five-fold which means we are well on our way to achieving our ambition of becoming one of the UK’s leading craft beer exporters. We believe that in 2018 eighty per cent of our business will be from exports, with the US being the main market.”
Andrew Dickson, Fund Manager from Business Loans Scotland, added: “Access to capital remains a major hurdle to many small and medium sized businesses which are looking to start up and grow. Often, our funding can make the difference between a business struggling or flourishing and that in turn will have a positive impact on employment, profitability and making communities stronger. I am delighted the fund has been able to support both of these Moray brewing businesses.”
John Cowe, Chair of Moray Economic Partnership and Board Member of Business Loans Scotland, said: “This is fantastic news for Moray and another example of the spirit of entrepreneurship and business leadership we are seeing drive the local economy forward. Both Windswept Brewing Co and Wooha Brewery are valued local businesses providing employment and boosting the local economy in Moray. These loans follow the award of Business Loans Scotland funding earlier this year to Moray businesses, ProBond Marine and Makar and it is great to see local businesses expanding.”
Business Loans Scotland is a consortium of Scotland’s 32 local authorities, providing loan finance of up to £100,000 to new and growing small and medium sized businesses across Scotland.
At the end of 2016, the Scottish Government announced a new SME holding fund to give companies access to microcredit finance of up to £25,000, loans of up to £100,000 and equity investment of up to £2 million. The holding fund will distribute European Regional Development Fund investment worth £40 million, to be matched by a total of £60 million from delivery partners, including Business Loans Scotland. Private sector funding of £150 million will also be contributed, leading to £250 million being invested in 500 firms by December 2018, creating 2,000 jobs.