St Austell Brewery, which has an annual turnover of approaching £100m and employs 1,000 people, was founded in 1851 by Walter Hicks. The company, which remains in private hands with numerous Walter Hicks' descendants involved as shareholders, employees and directors, is one of the longest established of only a few independent family brewers left in the UK. The firm has grown both organically and via selective acquisitions, and will use the new banking facility to explore further growth opportunities. Focused primarily on the South West, the firm is keen to expand its estate.
The refinance package will also enable St Austell Brewery to invest in its existing estate and brewing facilities, while looking to develop new products to complement its award-winning portfolio of beers and ales. Its best selling ale Tribute is one of the fastest growing cask ale brands in the country. Its Admirals Ale won the World's Best Premium Ale at the World Beer Awards in 2011 while St Austell Brewery itself won the Innovation in Training Award at the 2011 British Institute of Innkeeping NITA awards.
Royal Bank of Scotland's corporate banking team based in Bristol supplied a £10m term loan as well as a £12.5m revolving credit facility (RCF) while Barclays Bank provided a £12.5m RCF and working capital facilities totalling £5m.
Colin Stratton, finance director at St Austell Brewery, said: "We benefit from a strong independent, customer-focused business model and see further opportunities to grow our presence in prime South West markets. The banking and business support we receive is instrumental in our success; the teams at Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays have shown a strong understanding of our markets and requirements."