Craft brewer strikes gold with £1m investment from entrepreneur

Investor Bill Roberts with Drynks Unlimited MD Richard Clark, and Nick Maskrey from Robinsons Brewery

Craft brewer Drynks Unlimited has raised £1m to scale-up production of its alcohol-free range.

Bill Roberts, the founder and chairman of Welsh gold business Clogau Gold, has invested the cash to help the Manchester business accelerate the growth of its Smashed range of 0% beers and ciders.

He said he was attracted by the “massive potential” of the alcohol-free range and the “entreprenuerial spirit” of managind director Richard Clark.

Drynks Unlimited had previously secured a £125,000 investment on Dragons’ Den, when Sara Davies agreed to take a 7.5% equity stake in the business in an episode aired in March.

The brand’s range of five products is already sold in 500 places, and has recently secured a listing in United Arab Emirates grocery chain, Spinneys.

Clark, the former Halewood marketing director who founded Drynks Unlimited in 2017, said: “This £1m investment is absolutely key to help us move out of the start-up phase and into a key national and international alcohol-free brand and we’re very proud to have Bill Roberts on the team who brings with him a wealth of experience in scaling businesses.”

The funding will pay for an upgrade of its cool vacuum distillation machine at Robinson’s Brewery, which “gently dealcoholises” real craft beer and cider producing 0% drinks.

It will also support a big marketing push in the run-up to Christmas and into dry January.

Clark added: “There is real momentum in the no and low alcohol category and Covid-19 has accelerated this both in the UK and around the world.

“The category is competitive but we believe we have a range of alcohol-free drinks that knock the socks off the competition and will change how consumers socialise forever.”