Chapel Down is eyeing expansion after securing fresh funds

Chapel Down is eyeing expansion after securing fresh funds

Chapel Down plans to boost production and exports of its English wines and beers after securing GBP4.3m (US$6.4m) in new funding. 

The Kent-based company said today (8 July) that it will use the money to plant vines in Sussex, Essex and Kent to meet "growing demand" for its still and sparkling wines. The group also announced plans to build a brewery to produce its already-established Curious range of beers. 

The search for a brewery location is underway, Chapel Down said. The Curious beers are currently brewed by Everards and West Sussex-based Hepworth & Co, a Chapel Down spokesperson confirmed to just-drinks. 

Part of the funding - GBP2.4m - is coming from investment group Hothouse Club, whose founder is John Dunsmore, former Scottish & Newcastle and C&C Group CEO. Dunsmore will also join the board of Chapel Down. 

Frazer Thompson, Chapel Down's CEO, and a former global brand director at Heineken, said the investment marked an "exciting new phase" in the company's development. 

“This investment will allow us to continue to increase the supply for our award-winning brands to meet growing demand and further improve the quality and reach of both our wine and beer in the UK and internationally,” he added. 

Chapel Down exports its wines and beers to markets including Japan, Finland, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Holland, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Canada and France.

Earlier this year, Thompson forecast that the English wine industry is ripe for consolidation.