Brewer to recommend offer

Private equity firm bids for stake in Innis & Gunn

Dougal Sharp

Dougal Sharp (centre): investment will strengthen the business (photo: Terry Murden)

Craft brewer Innis & Gunn has received an offer from a private equity firm to acquire a 27.9% stake in the business.

The Edinburgh company’s board has recommended its ordinary shareholders accept the investment from L Catterton, the largest consumer-focused private equity firm in the world.

Founder and master brewer Dougal Gunn Sharp will remain the largest single shareholder following the offer which confirms the price paid last November when £2.4 million was raised through the company’s first equity crowdfunding campaign. The company was valued at just under £50m in the fund-raising exercise.

Innis & Gunn, founded in 2003, has grown to be the second-biggest craft brewer in the UK off-trade, the top imported craft beer in Canada. It exports to more than 28 countries.

Expansion in the past two years has seen the opening of four Beer Kitchens in Scotland, and has established the brewer’s home for barrel-ageing and innovation at the Innis & Gunn Brewery in Perth.

The brewer reported a 22% increase in annual group turnover last year to more than £14.3m.

This was the 13th consecutive year of volume growth, with volume over the past five years increasing by 175%, including sales of the Inveralmond Brewery brands which were integrated into the Innis & Gunn business.

Mr Sharp said: “The craft beer category is booming globally, and this is a hugely exciting opportunity at the right time for us to build strongly on the solid foundations that have been laid to double our 2015 turnover by 2018.

“Innovation and quality have been at the heart of Innis & Gunn’s success since day one, and this continues to drive us forward.

“Aside from providing additional capital to accelerate our growth plans, we believe L Catterton will strengthen our business with unparalleled expertise in brand building and a deep understanding of global consumer markets, sharing our vision and supporting our continued expansion and growth.”

Since 1989 Catterton has made more than 150 investments in leading brands across all segments of the consumer industry, and in 2016 formed L Catterton through the partnership of Catterton, LVMH and Groupe Arnault, operating multiple funds out of 17 offices

It has established one of the strongest private equity investment track records in the middle market, supporting companies such as Gant, Sweaty Betty and Kettle Foods.

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