City Pub Company to spend £15m on estate

By James Wallin, M&C Report

- Last updated on GMT

David Bruce said some of the money will go towards a new brewery
David Bruce said some of the money will go towards a new brewery

Related tags Pub company Beer

The City Pub Company will spend its Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) fund  of £15m in the next six months on building a pub estate, co-founder David Bruce has told the Publican's Morning Advertiser's sister title M&C Report.

The venture — set up by Bruce, John Roberts and Clive Watson — raised £11m in its first round of fundraising through EIS, and can gear up 50% against those funds. This will create three separate companies, each with a £5m war chest for acquisitions.

The trio had originally set a target of £25m but Bruce said this was a solid base.

He said: “This is a completely new way of funding a pub company and even though investors can see what we’ve been able to achieve in the past, there is always a bit of a guinea pig effect. Taking that into account this is a really impressive start.

“There are several opportunities that Clive has already identified. I reckon we’ll have spent all that money within six months and then we can start all over again.”

Bruce was also raising EIS funds for West Berkshire Brewery, where he is chairman.

New brewery

In 2014/15 financial year, he reached £2m of a total £4m target, which will go towards constructing a new brewery – at a dairy site next to the existing facility. Bruce will now seek to raise the other half of the money in 2015/16, which will go towards the brewery’s first pub.

He said: “This will definitely fund the new brewery and the bottling, kegging and canning lines. It will make a huge difference because at the moment we are sending our beer to Horsham to be bottled, which is a crazy situation.

“Even though the site has been used as a dairy the planners, in their infinite wisdom, say that beer production needs separate planning concept so we have to go through that process, which will probably take about two months. We should be up and running by the autumn.

“Anything else that comes in will go towards our first freehold pub – probably in central London, so we are keeping an eye on that. We had £100,000 come in on the first day of the new tax year so it’s looking good!”

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