English winemaker Chapel Down uncorks growth in its beer and cider business as profits lift across the board

Francesca Washtell
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Chapel Down is based at Tenterden in Kent (Source: Chapel Down)

English winemaker Chapel Down will be toasting its Curious Drinks beer and cider business today as growth in its brewing arm helped lift results across the board in the first half.

The figures

Turnover at Chapel Down rose by 26 per cent to £4.1m in the six months to 30 June, while gross profit grew by 28 per cent to £1.5m.

This was driven by its Curious Drinks beer and cider branch, where revenues grew by 55 per cent to £1.5m and gross profit also lifted by 55 per cent to £473,000.

Curious Drinks raised funds of £1.736m in the period, valuing the business at £17.74m, of which Chapel Down holds a 90 per cent economic share.

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Wine sales were up 14 per cent to £2.6m, while gross profit in its main division was up 18 per cent to £1m.

Chapel Down, which is an official wine supplier to Number 10, planted 95 acres of new vineyards over the period and won multiple awards for its wines.

Why it's interesting

Chapel Down chief executive Frazer Thompson said the growing interest in English wines and craft beers was helping drive growth at the company.

"Consumers' interest in English wines and specialist or craft beers shows no sign of abating and Chapel Down has worked hard to be well positioned to benefit," Thompson said.

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Thompson added that Chapel Down is "encouraged" by an "excellent quality" harvest that will help the company "to improve the quality of our wines and help our goal to have supply in place to meet future demand".

Earlier this month, the winemaker uncorked a new partnership to send its sparkling wine to the US for the first time with wine and spirit company ABCK Corp.

Shipments totalling 10,000 bottles are planned between now and the end of the year, though ABCK has said it is already under pressure to ship over more bottles after receiving an "overwhelmingly positive" reaction to Chapel Down's Three Graces wines.

What Chapel Down said

Thompson said:

We continue to deliver good growth, with sales and gross profits both growing strongly.

We are planting more vines in the finest sites, improving our production facilities, winemaking equipment and systems and developing our people and brands. The successful fundraising of £1.736m for Curious Drinks will enable us to build an exciting new brewery and develop our business for the long term.