It’s now possible to follow the Bavarian bear again thanks to two Kent-based entrepreneurs whose start-up business has brought the Hofmeister brand back as a premium Helles lager.
David Farrington and Richard Longhurst, who both have years of experience in the drinks industry, along with Spencer Chambers and John Byrne, spotted a gap in the market in the UK for a Bavarian Helles lager.
David Farrington says: “we saw a great opportunity for a Bavarian Helles lager married to an iconic brand with its roots in the Bavarian forest.” And with the help of a very credible team, including Andrew Marsden, Zoe Howorth and private equity investors they registered The Hofmeister Brewing Company Ltd on the 21st December 2015 – the shortest day, but the longest drinking night of the year – and launched Hofmeister Helles in October 2016.
Farrington and Longhurst shared their story and their experience of sourcing equity investment at McBrides quarterly FAB (Finance & Business) breakfast meeting at the London Golf Club on Wednesday 25th January.
Richard Longhurst said: “Initially we had looked to crowd-fund the project but after an initial Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) funding raise, bringing on board some excellent investors, we decided to go down the private equity route for our second raise and at the same time tap into our investors’ networks, advice and expertise.”
Terry Baldwin, tax partner at McBrides elaborated on why the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) have proved advantageous to start-ups, growing companies and investors alike: “EIS and SEIS both have fabulous tax incentives to woo investors, for example income tax reductions, Capital Gains Tax (CGT) deferral relief and exemption from CGT on sale. The company seeking investment can apply to HMRC for advance assurance of its qualifying EIS/SEIS status, which helps attract investors.”
Richard Longhurst explained how this advance assurance from HMRC helped them to secure investment: “We took advice from the team at McBrides in order to avoid losing the potential for the EIS and SEIS relief. If you’re not working with EIS or SEIS then effectively you’re working to find funding with one hand tied behind your back. With the assurance in place from HMRC we could just go and talk to people about funding and found that they were encouraged by the phenomenal tax breaks.”
EIS and SEIS have both helped breathe life back into the Hofmeister bear. David Farrington advised the McBrides FAB audience to learn more about EIS and SEIS funding adding: “it’s not all about cash, it’s also about having the right shareholders on board.”
Attendees at the FAB event were also given the opportunity to taste the Hofmeister Helles which is made in the heart of Bavaria using natural mineral water and locally grown barley and hops. The lager is slow-brewed colder and longer than most other beers today.
Hofmeister Helles is on sale across the UK through regional wholesalers and online via Amazon and Shopify.