Award-winning Derbyshire brewery raises a glass to tax credits boost

An award-winning Peak District brewer is celebrating after receiving a cash boost for its work to develop new beers.

By Ashley Booker
Monday, 20th May 2019, 10:00 pm
Thornbridge Brewery has received a Government cash boost
Thornbridge Brewery has received a Government cash boost

Thornbridge Brewery has landed £10,000 in research and development tax credits from the Government after developing a series of flavours for its acclaimed craft beers.

The tax credits have been claimed against staff hours spent on recipe development, and the production and trialling of new beers.

Thornbridge - based on Buxton Road in Bakewell - had never made an R&D tax credit claim until it began talks with specialist tax relief consultancy Catax, which has worked successfully with other breweries.

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Simon Walkden, chief operating officer at Thornbridge, said: “I joined the company in 2015 and immediately thought there must be some R&D we can claim for here. We spoke to a couple of firms who didn’t give us the impression there was enough there.

“Then we met Catax who said we should definitely claim and were very bullish about it. They had previous experience in the brewing industry so were able to say with confidence what was applicable.

“We needed to prove the development of these new beer styles required overcoming a technical uncertainty. There’s nothing easy about creating a new beer so that didn’t pose a problem once we had the right guidance.”

The brewery’s focus on innovation and new tastes has helped it increase sales year on year to around £9m for the current financial year - pocketing more than 350 industry awards in the process.

In the last three years, the brewery’s head brewer, Rob Lovatt, and his team have created a series of high-end barrel aged sour beers in bourbon and burgundy casks.

They use wild yeast and different fruits such as cherry, raspberry and gooseberry to produce unique and complex flavours in these limited edition beers, which sell to craft beer connoisseurs in over 35 countries worldwide.

Thornbridge now boasts a range of over 20 core beers but is constantly working on developing new exciting flavours, limited edition beers and, most recently, a low alcohol beer called Big Easy.

Mark Tighe, chief executive of tax credit consultancy Catax, said: “Thornbridge’s amazing work investing in completely new beer-making processes and recipes, which has won it worldwide acclaim, has been rightfully rewarded under the government’s R&D scheme.

“There’s no doubt this has spurred the company on to continue creating more delicious beers for us all to enjoy.”