3i Boss Joins Joule's Brewery And Secures £4M For Growth

Joules brewery and Nat West have today confirmed the bank have completed a £4m deal that will allow the Market Drayton brewery to continue to expand both its pub estate and launch new beers in the emerging craft beer market.  The new arrangement delivers £1.2m of additional funds that will be free for investment.

The new deal was drawn down as part of the bank’s leisure fund launched in May specifically to support leisure businesses.

It has also been very quick.  Neil Mellings of Nat West, ‘We met Joule’s management just after the fund was launched at the end of May.  The offer was made on July 4th this year and we moved funds on August 8th.  We reacted to an opportunity that the company had to buy four pubs from Punch which was a deadline to do the deal.  These four are now up and trading and selling Joule’s ale and already made a difference to their business.  The company has our support to buy further pubs as well as expanding the brewery which is currently happening.  This will deliver jobs and increased activity both at the brewery in Market Drayton as well as for tradesmen who will be refurbishing g the new pubs.  It’s a great success story of a small business with good management doing what it should be doing – growing and we are delighted to be facilitating that growth.

The deal follows the appointment of Mark Heappey as chairman at Joules Brewery Ltd. Mark has been working with management through summer and was formally appointed in July and was previously a partner at 3i , responsible for 3i in Spain.

Mark said: “I was delighted to have been invited to chair this dynamic business that is committed to quality in its pubs and of course the beer.  The craft beer sector is an exciting place to be as the pub business starts to move to a cycle of greater specialism, Joules looks to be to be a likely winner in this.  A good team of course, but most importantly a charismatic and engaging brand.  It’s the relationships that the consumer forges that will be the deciding factor for breakthrough in a market that is becoming quite crowded.”

Mark leads a board dominated by the ex Bass contingent of Martin Thomas, non-executive and previously on the Bass board, Chrissie Nuttall, previously a director at Bass M&B and Steve Nuttall who launched caffreys Irish ale whilst at Bass brewers.  Trudie Meredith ex M&S becomes director of sales and marketing and Neale Chandler an ex Bass operations manager has been appointed director of retail operations.

Mark was until recently a senior partner at private equity group 3i. Mark has spent over 25 years investing in private companies across Europe particularly in the UK and Spain.  He has worked with many consumer companies including Pepe Jeans, Agent Provacteur and Spanish hotel chain, AC Hotels.  Mark is currently a director of Memora, Spain’s largest funeral services business and German/Spanish construction group GES.  He has recently invested in UK cycle park business Allpark.

Chrissie Nuttall managing director at Joules.  ‘We had been looking at various options for funding, including selling some equity in the business.  We had assumed that the banks were closed for business, I have to say I have been really surprised by the appetite to support us, but moreover the speed and enthusiasm to do this deal.  The bank have a dedicated leisure fund and I think we were a good fit, we have an old and established brand and have enjoyed good and solid growth for the past 5 years and the bank worked very hard to make this happen in record time.  It’s a great offer, competitive rates and with nil arrangement fees. I would enthusiastically encourage others to look at the option for debt funding.  With a new board and an enlarged team we are well set to look to the future with great optimism.

Joules now has 35 freehold pubs of which 20 are fully branded ‘brewery tap houses’.  The Joules brand dates back to 1779.

For further information:

Neil Mellings Nat West Bank (Mobile – 07747564977)

Steve Nuttall Joules Brewery 07730 979276


Back to news article list