Drop Bear Beer secures £1.8m to build biggest UK alcohol-free craft brewery

Drop Bear Beer Co. has succeeded in securing a £1.8m equity investment to build one of the world’s first dedicated alcohol-free breweries.

A £1.5m investment has been made by Henry Engelhardt, founder of the Admiral Group. With £300k from Drop Bear Beer’s Crowdcube campaign, the project’s total investment is £1.8m.

The announcement of the businessman and philanthropist’s involvement has provided Drop Bear with an “unbelievable start to 2021”.

It will help the company achieve its aim of opening only the second UK – and first Welsh - alcohol-free brewery. When all stages of the project have been completed the brewery will be in the region of 20,000 sq ft.

The development of its brewery will allow Drop Bear to increase production and market share and fuel the company’s drive to establish Drop Bear as a key national and international player in the burgeoning alcohol-free market.

On New Year’s Day, the Swansea-based company - founded in 2019 by Joelle Drummond and Sarah McNena - launched their equity investment campaign to build an alcohol-free brewery. Just a few days later, the pair were contacted by Engelhardt.

“To have a businessman of Henry’s experience and reputation on board recognising the incredible work we’re doing with Drop Bear is absolutely fantastic,” said Drop Bear’s operations and finance director, Sarah McNena.

“His investment, along with £300,000 that is coming from our Crowdcube campaign, enables us to increase production capacity further, create more jobs, and make even more of an impact on both the national and international stage.”

Said Henry Engelhardt, “I read about Drop Bear in the paper, and so I bought a case. I tried it, I loved it, so I contacted Joelle and Sarah and asked if they needed any help in bringing this great product to the world.

“I found they are really on the right track to create a global brand for great-tasting non-alcoholic, low calorie, gluten-free, vegan beer! Wow! This product hits so many positive buttons, it’s amazing!

“And backing these two entrepreneurs was one of the easier decisions of my investing career.”

Exploding onto the market in mid-2019, Drummond and McNena have led Drop Bear to the front of the market. They have succeeded in grabbing the rapidly growing alcohol-free sector’s attention, resulting in swift sales growth.

Drop Bear’s 100% natural beers with punchy, exciting flavour profiles have gained a rapidly growing legion of fans. While below 0.5% ABV, the beer’s vegan, gluten-free, and low-calorie credentials have captured the drinks market’s zeitgeist.

Following their mantra of ‘Dropping the alcohol, perfecting the craft’, the pair have swiftly established Drop Bear as a leading player in the industry – and in 2020 the company saw a growth in sales of over 1000%.

The Drop Bear brewery will be located in South Wales, with a site currently under consideration and plans underway to get the brewery fully functional by the end of October 2021.

“In less than two years and with a very humble personal investment, Sarah and I have transformed Drop Bear from just an idea into a multimillion-pound business with an international reputation,” said Drop Bear’s sales and marketing director, Joelle Drummond.

“As the founders of Drop Bear, we’re so excited and motivated to show the world what Drop Bear can do with significant investment and what this brewery will mean for the industry as a whole.”

The Drop Bear range currently consists of four beers: Tropical IPA, Yuzu Pale Ale, Bonfire Stout, and New World Lager.