Rye River Brewing Company (Rye River), Ireland’s leading independent retail craft brewery, producing world-class beers in Celbridge, Co. Kildare, has today announced that it has successfully completed its latest fundraising by securing a multi-million euro investment from German brewery Warsteiner. This investment will see the ninth-generation family-owned brewery, with an international reputation for quality, acquire a minority stake in Rye River Brewing Company, and provide both capital and operational support, with a focus on accelerating Rye River’s growth in export markets, in particular by gaining access to Warsteiner’s well-established distribution channels and networks internationally.
Sustained investment has been key to Rye River Brewing Company’s growth and success since it was established in 2013. Last year Rye River moved to a 24/7 shift brewing pattern, which expanded production capacity by 25%, to satisfy current demand and to facilitate future volume growth. The introduction of a new packaging line costing €1.3m is currently in train, and the fresh investment from Warsteiner Group will enable the business to advance its capital investment programme in additional brewing, packaging and warehousing projects for the remainder of 2022 and throughout 2023.
The completion of this latest funding round follows the publication of Rye River Brewing Company’s 2021 annual results earlier this week which showed an increase in revenue, with operational profitability maintained despite significant challenges in domestic and international markets during 2021. The report also provided a trading update, noting a strong performance for the first half of 2022, with continued volume and market share growth.
Now employing 62, Rye River Brewing Company further strengthened its position as a category leader within the Irish Craft beer sector in 2021 with its status as Ireland’s number one retail craft brewery. AC Nielsen data confirmed that Rye River Brewing Company had four products in the top 15 selling beers in the Irish Retail market in 2021 and its Double IPA was the No. 1 selling Irish craft beer in the Retail channel.
Helmut Hörz, CEO & CFO and Chairman of the Management Board of the Warsteiner Group will join the board of Rye River as a non-executive director, adding further strategic capability to the Celbridge-based brewery chaired by international drinks industry veteran Neil Everitt. Mr. Hörz will provide a key link with Warsteiner to ensure its experience, operational excellence and Warsteiner’s international distribution network can be leveraged to their fullest extent.
Rye River Brewing Company was advised by Deloitte’s Dublin office in the fundraising.
Announcing the investment and welcoming the strategic partnership with Warsteiner, Tom Cronin, Founder and Managing Director of Rye River Brewing Company said:
“Sustained investment by Rye River in production, quality, capacity and operational efficiencies has been key to developing some of the world’s best beers and becoming Ireland’s number one retail craft brewery. We have already enjoyed success in international markets but remain hugely ambitious to grow our export markets further. The investment from Warsteiner will not only allow us to bring forward a number of capital projects but also gives us access to significant distribution channels and networks which will accelerate export growth. The Rye River team is hugely excited about the opportunity of working with a business that shares the values that have underpinned our success to date. Warsteiner is an independent family business with a long tradition of brewing excellence and is a perfect fit to support Rye River Brewing Company in its next stage of development.”
Speaking about the investment, Catharina Cramer, Owner of the Warsteiner Group, said:
“For over 250 years the Warsteiner name has been synonymous with premium beers of the highest quality, so it is important to us as a ninth-generation family business that any investments we make are consistent with the values and culture which have been imbedded in our business since 1753. Like Warsteiner, Rye River Brewing Company is an owner-operated company and our common strong emphasis on quality was a key factor in our decision to join forces. Our companies believe in family businesses, teamwork and being passionate about their craft, and this has been key for the creation of this strategic partnership.”
Helmut Hörz, CEO & CFO and Chairman of the Management Board of the Warsteiner Group and newly appointed Rye River non-executive director added:
“Our acquisition of a minority stake in the Rye River Brewing Company is in keeping with our shared long-term goals. While only in its tenth year of business, Rye River Brewing Company has already built a world-class craft brewery in Ireland with award-winning stout, lager, Irish ale and IPA products and strong brands. We look forward to supporting the company’s management and brewery team in accelerating its growth in international markets through this strategic investment partnership.”