Originally brewed in London in 1837, the brand behind Party Seven draught bitter was taken over by Grand Metropolitan in 1972 before merging with Truman, Hanbury and Buxton & Co in 1974 – with brewing interests later passing to Scottish & Newcastle, causing the Watneys brand to disappear.
However, following a relaunch in 2014, the reinvigorated beer giant has built a portfolio of new brews by partnering with award-winning craft brewers in order to restore Watneys to its former glory with a youthful twist to engage a new generation of drinkers.
The company has taken advantage of wasted capacity in existing breweries to make its beers rather than investing in costly premises of their own to minimise overhead and capital requirements.
The revived and revamped beer company – which achieved 85% year-on-year sales growth in 2018 – is now seeking £400,000 in crowdfunding to take its revival to the next level by establishing a strong portfolio of regional craft beer brands, such as Federation in Newcastle and Matthew Brown from Lancashire.
The campaign marks the next stage of investment for the new company, which is already backed by a group of industry veterans and more than 30 angel investors, including East Midlands Business Angels.
Modern and relevant
At the time of writing, Watneys’ page on Seedrs revealed that the company had received £330,774 in funding from 147 investors comprising 83% of the desired total.
The crowdfunding campaign page, which reveals Watneys is offering 18.29% in equity to investors in exchange for £400,005, states that the revamped company is valued at £1,787,313.
Discussing the historic brand’s resurrection – which has seen its infamous Red Barrel featured in Monty Python and BBC series Life on Mars – Watneys’ director Nick Whitehurst explained: “The nostalgia and history of Watneys give us provenance, but what we’ve done is taken this heritage and reinvented the brand to appeal to a whole new generation of drinkers.
“Now we’re modern, relevant and have a business model to make Watneys a key brand in the craft beer market.”
According to Signature Brew’s John Longbottom, crowdfunding can only serve to strengthen the fabric of the craft beer community and has become one of the industry’s key features.
More information about Watneys’ crowdfunding campaign can be found via the company’s page on Seedrs.