The Kent-based brewer, wine and spirit maker’s combined sales went up from £11.8m in 2017 to just over £13m during 2018.
The 10% combined increase was fuelled by successful trading years for both Chapel Down Wine and Spirits and Curious Drinks Limited, which recorded 12% and 10% sales increases respectively.
Extra 1m bottles of wine per year
Chapel Down Wine and Spirits enjoyed a landmark year in 2018 with the company’s wine and spirits arm delivering close to £9m in sales and gross profit rising by 12% to £3.63m.
In addition to a record-breaking harvest across its estate, the company was recognised with a gold 'outstanding' medal at The International Wine and Spirits Challenge 2018. It planted an additional 102 acres of new vineyards in Kent, and completed on the lease of a further 388 acres of prime viticultural land adjoining existing vineyards which, according to the company’s chairman John Dunsmore, will produce up to 1m extra bottles of wine each year.
Moreover, in December Chapel Down Wine and Spirits completed on the lease of a 5,000 sq ft site in London’s King's Cross where it opened Chapel Down Gin Works.
Steady brewing growth
Curious Drinks continues to be a growing part of Chapel Down Group’s business, with sales increasing from £3.7m to just over £4m and registering a gross profit of £1.29m – a 1% year-on-year increase.
The company’s continued commitment to Curious Drinks was underlined by the opening of a multimillion-pound facility in Ashford, Kent which, when fully operational, will hold 170,000 pints of beer at any given time and produce more than 4,000 bottles of Curious Brew per hour.
Chief executive Frazer Thompson commented: “Our beer and cider performance has been steady as we continue to invest in our own brewery which opened in May 2019."
Thompson explained that the company's focus on premium accounts such as Mitchells & Butlers, Fuller's and a broader collection of top-end restaurants, bars and hotels will be an integral part of its growth strategy.
“We believe that the new brewery will add a significant impact to our brand offering, as well as enable us to profit from managing our own brewing.”
Reflecting on the past year, Dunsmore commented: “2018 has been a busy year preparing the company for further growth.
“We have an ambitious and experienced management team focused on our desire to make Chapel Down England’s most exciting drinks company. We are on the way, but there is much to be done.
“We will continue to make substantial investments over the coming years in planting more vineyards, developing our winery, improving our commercial infrastructure, hiring and training the best talent and creating smart, effective marketing to ensurewe build the strongest quality brands and are therefore best placed for future growth and any industry consolidation.
“Our assets are supportive of the business: land – and high-quality vined land in particular – continues to appreciate, our brand assets are more valuable than ever and our balance sheet is strong.
“We enjoy the custom and support of our many shareholders who tell the Chapel Down story with energy and enthusiasm. Thank you for your continued faith, excitement, encouragement and support.”