Portrush-based Lacada Brewery has revealed details of an ambitious expansion plan, and is poised to open a new share offer.

The co-operative business, with almost 290 members, has gone from strength to strength since it began trading in October 2015.

Four years on, it has established itself as one of Northern Ireland’s leading breweries, winning several awards along the way, including best new product at the 2017 Blas na hÉireann Irish Food Awards, and a coveted three stars in the 2018 Great Taste Awards.

The brewery, situated in the centre of Portrush, currently employs eight people and distributes its own products. Northern Ireland enjoys the lion’s share, although some has been exported to England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and Denmark.

The business is seeking to raise £250,000 through new investment to realise an ambitious expansion plan, expected to take up to three years to fully complete.

Chairman, director, and head brewer, Laurie Davies, said: “We’re initially seeking to upgrade and improve our equipment. We have reached the stage where sales have outgrown our initial capacity. This investment will see the brewery capable of doubling production, allowing us to confidently enter new markets, and with improved equipment, develop new products.”

According to the share offer document, phases two and three would see the brewery potentially moving to its own bespoke premises with potential to add a taproom and restaurant.

Laurie said: “When we first set up and had the idea to begin a co-operative, it was because we wanted to bring something to the community. We wanted to leave a legacy.

“Lacada has become much more than just a brewery — it’s a brand. It employs local people. We have tourists from all over the world visiting the
brewery.

“We established the Portrush Beer Festival, which is now in its fourth year and an attraction in its own right, and we would like to increase that tourism offering in the future.”

The Lacada Brewery share offer

The share offer is open to everyone. The minimum amount of investment is set at £100 and the maximum at £20,000. Shares within the co-operative cannot be transferred, and any potential investor will not be able to withdraw their investment for three years.

While community shares can’t be withdrawn for any higher than their purchase value, investors could see dividends in the future, if the membership so decides.

Rodger Doherty, one of the co-operative’s initial investors and now director and company secretary, said: “Five years ago, I saw an article in my local newspaper about a brewery seeking investment, and on a whim I thought: ‘Why not?’. Five years later, here I am, company secretary. I never thought I would get any benefits from investing, but Lacada is not just a brewery.

“Due to its co-operative nature, it is a family. Over the last four years I have learnt new skills. I have met many people both within and outside of the co-operative, people I now class as friends.”

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