Cave Direct’s Beer Merchants Tap in Hackney Wick, East London
The report is an annual celebration of some of the most dynamic small and medium-sized companies in the UK, and is forwarded by the Prime Minister, as well a host of business experts from all sectors. Companies are shortlisted using Companies House data, then chosen by comparison against other companies in their sector.
In the last few years Cave Direct has built up strong but sustainable growth by focusing on direct distribution, beer quality, education and brand building. In late 2017, it opened a Newcastle warehouse, fulfilling ambitions to distribute direct throughout mainland UK.
More recently, it opened the Beer Merchants Tap, a pub and trade showroom in the heart of Hackney Wick, East
All three of its core brewery brands — Kona Brewing Company, Paulaner and Lervig — grew by more than 25% in 2017 against the market trend for imported beer. The rest of the portfolio, which includes brands like Delirium from Belgium, who Cave Direct has worked with for more than 30 years, also showed strong volume growth.
Championing quality beer
Cave Direct managing director, Colin Gilhespy, said: “Being listed by the LSE Group was a real honour for us. We’ve been supporting other small businesses and championing quality beer for nearly 40 years, so it’s brilliant to get recognition and to see beer companies among the fastest growing in the country.
“There are lots of challenges to face in the next few years, but we’re confident we can meet them head on and help keep this amazing industry growing.”
Cave Direct was founded in 1979 by Colin’s father who, rather than retire, fulfilled his ambition to source wine and beer to sell to his friends. Having a Belgian wife who also doubled up as driver’s mate and accountant, led him to discover the myriad beer styles and breweries the country had to offer.
Today Cave Direct imports and directly distributes more than 100 brands from around the world, from historic breweries such as Westmalle and Paulaner, to modern craft breweries like Lervig and Kona.