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Beer importer and distributor The BottleShop aims to raise £350,000 in crowdfunding campaign to import better beers from America

By Chris Price

A beer importer and distributor founded in Kent is aiming to raise £350,000 to improve the shipping of craft beers from America.

The BottleShop brings beers from top US breweries to the likes of Byron Hamburgers, BrewDog and Curzon Cinemas, as well as running its own pubs and stores.

It has already raised £118,000 in a crowdfunding campaign which values the business at £3.1 million, after growing turnover by more than £1 million each year since 2015.

The BottleShop store in the Goods Shed in Canterbury
The BottleShop store in the Goods Shed in Canterbury

It raised its profile in the county after opening its “first fully-featured bar” in Margate’s Old Town in June last year “giving the locals and tourists a fantastic craft beer experience” according to founder Andrew Morgan.

It launched in 2010 in the Goods Shed in Canterbury, where it sells more than 200 bottles and two keg-lines, and added its wholesale business in 2013. It has run a tap room and shop in Bermondsey for three years.

The firm, which imports beer from “small-batch breweries”, wants to use the money raised – in exchange for 10% of the business – to set up a ColdChain, which will protect its US imported beer “from brewery to bar”.

It wants to create a network of refrigerated trucks, shipping containers and warehouses to protect the product, in a craft beer market which has enjoyed 8% compound growth in the last five years.

The Goods Shed in Canterbury, where the BottleShop launched in 2010
The Goods Shed in Canterbury, where the BottleShop launched in 2010

It will also be used to refrigerate its London warehouse and open a chilled unit in Manchester to serve the North of England, plus open two new BottleShops in London and revamp its website.

Mr Morgan said: “One huge differentiator when it comes to realising the value of American beer is refrigerated distribution.

“In Europe we have been drinking long-life beer that is designed to survive supermarket shelves and warm sunny days.

“In America they are drinking fresh beer which is designed to be refrigerated.”

He said he cares about American beer so much “because it’s so good”, adding to continue accessing fresh American beer “we need a refrigerated platform”.

The crowdfunding campaign will run on the Crowdcube website until Saturday, June 17.

Mr Morgan added: “It’s truly fantastic to work with the world’s greatest breweries.

“Anybody who has travelled to America and tasted that fresh, lovely, hoppy, gorgeous beer knows there is something better about it.

“We have got the infrastructure, the relationships and the talent. All we need now is support to bring the best beer possible – the freshest and most-chilled wonderful American beer – to the UK. It’s going to be a game changer.”

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