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Staffordshire brewery ups production with £10k small business grant

February 15, 2018

A Staffordshire brewery has upped its contract bottling production by 25 per cent – thanks to a £10k business grant.

Staffordshire Brewery Limited, based in Cheddleton, applied to the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub’s Small Business Grant Scheme for help to buy machinery to boost production speed.

The brewery makes and bottles its own beer, as well as providing a bottling service to other breweries across the UK – including Lymestone Brewery in Stone, and Titanic Brewery in Stoke-on-Trent.

Ken Newsome, compliance and projects officer, said: “We bought a new bottling line, faster than the one we had, but we were having to manually put the bottles on and we couldn’t keep up with it! We needed a semi-automatic de-palletiser to allow us to feed empty bottles to the machine at a rate we couldn’t do manually.”

But having just invested in the new bottling line, the brewery needed to secure more funding for the extra piece of equipment.

DePalletiser Brewery

Ken, 68, from Congleton, added: “I read about the grant scheme in the Growth Hub’s newsletter, having previously been in touch through Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce. I called the free advice line, which signposted me to the Small Business Grant Scheme Manager.  After answering a few simple eligibility questions I was sent an application form to complete. We were so pleased to find out we were successful.

“The de-palletiser cost around £40k, including delivery and installation, so the £10k grant gave us that extra bit needed to foot the bill. It’s increased production by at least 25 per cent, reduced production costs, and allowed us to gain more customers, because we can meet the demand.

“The Growth Hub was very helpful in providing funding advice and guiding us through the process. I would strongly recommend other businesses give them a call.”

Julie Evans, Growth Hub Small Business Grants Scheme manager, said: “The Small Business Grant Scheme supports the growth of existing B2B small and medium-sized enterprises in the Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire LEP area.

“We are happy to have been able to help Staffordshire Brewery purchase their de-palletiser to enable them to speed up their bottling process, and welcome applications from other SMEs in the area.”

For more information, visit stokestaffsgrowthhub.co.uk to use the free live chat service.

Notes:

The Growth Hub was established by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to play a major role in the drive for strong, sustainable business growth across the LEP area.

Local Enterprise Partnerships were established by the Government to bring all the stakeholders in local areas – from the private and public sectors – around the table to drive local economic growth. In total there are 38 LEPs across England.

The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP is chaired by David Frost CBE, former director general of the British Chambers of Commerce and includes senior representatives of local businesses, universities and FE colleges, and local authorities including Staffordshire County Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

The Growth Hub acts as the focal point for businesses that wish to grow, providing co-ordinated and cohesive growth programmes, business networks, growth groups and links to specialist information, advice and services.

The funding for the Growth Hub was secured from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF)  through Lancaster University, who led the creation of 15 new growth hubs across the UK.

As part of the Growth Hub service, officers from the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce are available to provide face-to-face advice to local businesses and to signpost them to specialised support.

European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)

The project (either has received or is receiving up to) £1.6m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Department for Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.

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