Funding fuels greener future for wine merchant
A West Midlands wine merchant has become 100% energy self-sufficient with the installation of 123 solar panels at its site in Shirley, following funding from Lloyds Bank.
Family-owned Frazier’s Wine Merchants received £40,000 from Lloyds Bank’s Clean Growth Financing Initiative, as well as an additional £10,000 grant from the council.
The Frazier family have been in the drinks industry for five generations, beginning with current owner William Frazier’s grandfather, who was a licensed valuer to local Birmingham breweries in the 19th century. In 1949, his son began the business with the purchase of an off-licence in Castle Bromwich, Birmingham. It has since grown into a £3m turnover company, employing 11 staff.
The solar panels, installed by MES Electrical & Solar, are capable of meeting the business’ full energy requirements, including powering its specialist climate-controlled warehouse, where many of its oldest and most expensive bottles are stored.
Since the installation in mid-February, the solar panels have already saved almost 7,500 kilos of CO2, the equivalent of burning 3,000 kilos of coal, or planting more than 400 trees.
The surplus energy generated by the solar panels is currently returned to the grid. Plans are underway to install batteries on-site to store the energy, in the hopes of eventually purchasing and powering a fully electric delivery fleet.
The business is also planning to invest in its product and people, growing its headcount by 20-30% and upskilling existing staff, with the aim of doubling turnover over the next two years.
William Frazier, managing director of Frazier’s Wine Merchants, said: “Wine is a natural product, which means the temperature of our warehouse needs to be carefully maintained.
“With some of our most expensive bottles costing more than £1,500, it’s essential they experience no rapid changes in temperature to preserve their quality. This creates a significant energy demand for the business, which the installation of renewable energy technology will now meet, helping us reduce both our emissions and energy costs.
“Lloyds Bank has been by our side as we begin on our sustainability journey, even helping us find and apply for the council grant, in addition to the loan they provided. Without their support and advice, our move to self-sustainability wouldn’t have been possible.”
Nigel Arnold, relationship manager, SME banking at Lloyds Bank, said: “We’ve worked with Frazier’s Wine Merchants for more than 40 years, and during that time we’ve supported them across a variety of different areas to help drive their growth, including commercial loans and import guarantees.
“The funding of the business’ solar panels marks our first green loan with this ambitious Midlands business and we’re proud to support them on this important next step, as we work towards a low carbon economy.”