A craft beer producer in Leeds is going for growth after securing a mix of funding to support expansion, including an AD:VENTURE growth grant and the launch of a successful Crowdfunder campaign.
Amity Brew Co, which was set up by a group of friends in the middle of the pandemic, has a brewery and taproom at Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley. The team started producing beer in June 2020 and by December 2020 they had launched the brewhouse, which is open from Thursday to Sunday. It currently employs eight people, with plans to employ more, including a brewery assistant.
The company has been supported by AD:VENTURE, a business growth programme for early stage businesses in North and West Yorkshire. Amity initially applied for a £75,000 start-up loan from AD:VENTURE partners, The Business Enterprise Fund. After seeing growth early on despite the pandemic, they applied for a further £40,000 grant for investment into the business.
Working with an AD:VENTURE business advisor, Amity Brew Co used some of the £40,000 to match fund their AD:VENTURE grant application, securing an additional £15,000.
The grant allowed Amity to invest in new canning equipment and helped bring packaging in-house. The aim is to offer a canning service to other small breweries and take on three more staff by the end of the year. As well as the grant from AD:VENTURE, Amity has had advice from a business adviser and other support.
Verity Clarke, communications director said: "Our start-up journey has not been an easy one, so we have relished in receiving external support from AD:VENTURE. We're still a very small team and we value the courses, training, networking and general cheerleading from the AD:VENTURE team. It means so much to us that we're being recognised and supported."
The Crowdfunder campaign launched on February 14 with an initial target of £15,000, which was soon surpassed, as was the new stretch target of £30,000. Donations are still coming in, and the team are exploring how they can maximise their offer to customers with the extra cash from the campaign, which runs until March 11.
Cllr Jonathan Pryor, deputy leader and executive member for economy, culture and education at Leeds City Council, said: “Amity’s incredible success shows that it is possible to set up and grow a business even in these difficult times if you have the right support in place.
“What they have created is an amazing business which has proved really popular, and it looks like they have a brilliant future ahead of them.”
AD:VENTURE is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), with other funding and delivery partners across the Leeds City Region. As well as The Business Enterprise Fund, they include the nine local authorities, Leeds Trinity University, Leeds Beckett University, the Prince’s Trust and West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce.