UK craft brewer crowdfunds to finance move into cans

UK start-up Manchester Union Brewery has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help move its craft lager from kegs to cans.

The campaign from the brewer of Manchester Union Lager, titled Together We Can, was launched on Tuesday 12 May, and hopes to raise £80,000 (US$98,000) so that the business can transition into retail sales in June 2020.

Jamie Scahill, Ian Johnson and Will Evans, co-founders of the brewery, set up the business just over 12 months ago after several years of planning. However, after a successful first year of trade, supplying more than 30 bars and restaurants around Manchester with kegs of its beer, the coronavirus lockdown ended all existing trade overnight.

The brewery now hopes to raise £40,000 ($49,000) in the first round of crowdfunding to cover the initial cost of moving into canned lager before using the next £40,000 to purchase its own canning machine. On 21 May, the brewery had raised £17,205 ($21,076) from 270 supporters of a £40,000 target, with 25 days to go to raise the rest.

Manchester Union is offering a range of rewards to those pledging money to its crowdfunding campaign. As well as the chance to receive a lifetime’s supply of lager, supporters will also receive a lifetime 10 per cent discount on its lager, as well as other benefits.

“Being able to offer a lifetime’s supply of lager in exchange for investment is an unorthodox way to raise funds, but the investment will allow us to move Manchester Union Lager into cans,” said Scahill. “Ramping up our retail sales while pubs and bars are shut is going to make a big difference.

“The effects of Covid-19 have had a huge impact on our start-up business, forcing us to accelerate our plans to begin canning our lager in order to continue putting our unique Mancunian beer in the mouths of customers.”