The bosses of an award-winning cider firm have devised a crowdfunder with a difference as they attempt to navigate their way through the Covid-19 crisis.
Jolyon and Charlotte Olivier are trying to raise £40,000 to support their business and are offering shares in their company in return.
Napton Cidery began life as a one-tree hobby by the couple almost a decade ago.
But after catching the cider-making bug, the couple launched their company which now produces 90,000 litres of cider a year.
Jolyon said: We made out first batch of cider, as most do, from the apple tree in our garden. Turns out we were born to be cider makers.
« We started Napton Cidery several years later with the sole mission to collect unwanted apples from our village and surrounding orchards to create amazing ciders and, before you know it, we’re producing 90,000 litres of cider. »
Expansion plans were well under way last year with the introduction of a tap room. But those plans were scuppered by the Covid-19 outbreak.
Jolyon said: « The tap room was closed before it even opened. Our licence was issued on the Monday immediately after the Government shit the pubs in March. We had been planning a big launch to celebrate. We also had six pubs lined up ready to install our kegs, all of which had to close as well. »
On top of that blow, other arms of the business incliding tours, tastings, cider making workshops and live music events at the cidery were all scuppered by the pandemic. It had led to a suspected £100,000 loss of revenue.
Like many other businesses, Napton was forced to adapt quickly and began a home delivery service through its website.
But, not to be defeated, Jolyon said the crisis had delivered one positive. He said: « We were a business that was ready to grow but had its wings clipped. The funding round would not have been needed without Covid,
« We’re selling more directly to the consumer now so we’re actually getting to know our consumers a lot better. And it’s helped small businesses come together and help each other out. »
The challenges of the pandemic have not grounded Jolyon and Charlotte’s ambitions who, armed with their newly acquired spirits licence, plan to produce a new line of apple brandies to their repertoire within the next 18 months.
In the short term though, as well as juggling the demands of home-schooling their two children, aged eight and five, the couple have set their sights on a gentle period of regrowth and recovery for their business. This starts with the new investment opportunity, without which they admit, some tough decisions would have to be made.
“Our first crowdfunding campaign two years ago raised £148,000 which allowed us to expand, rebrand our products and bring staff on board. This new campaign is about sustaining growth. If we didn’t do this we would be having to make some cutbacks which would stunt that growth,” said Jolyon.
“It is a very good time to be helping out local businesses if you can. We have some great rewards available to our investors. There is no better time to get involved with Napton Cidery, we have an exciting future ahead of us.”
Further investment information and registration of interest form are available by visiting here.
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