Tuesday 18 June 2019

Recalibration pays off for craft brewer Rye River

Going with the flow: Rye River head brewer Bill Laukitis and Tom
Cronin, founder and managing director at Rye River Brewing Company
Going with the flow: Rye River head brewer Bill Laukitis and Tom Cronin, founder and managing director at Rye River Brewing Company
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Craft brewery Rye River has returned to profit after more than doubling sales to €2.7m. The maker of the McGargles beer brand exited its contract brewing and distribution for third-party brands during 2017 to focusing on its own brewing and developing export markets.

Overall sales in the Republic fell 5.5pc last year after it closed out contract brewing, but sales of own-produced beers increased by 34pc, Rye River said.

Export growth contributed to a return to operating profit of €85,317 for the financial year to the end of December 2018. Losses after taxation were €194,201 after interest.

Earnings were €782,667 for 2018, an increase of 27pc year-on-year.

The company - based in Celbridge, Co Kildare - said it expected to deliver a net profit in 2019 and is on track to deliver its five-year strategic growth plan by the end of 2023.

Founder and managing director Tom Cronin said a shift in focus away from contract brewing had paid off.

"This approach has seen us return to operating profit last year on the back of strong export growth of our premium Irish Craft Beer product to leading retail partners," said Mr Cronin.

"The outlook remains strong for Rye River Brewing as demand for quality Irish craft beer increases and our ability to grow our export markets continues apace."

Mr Cronin has been short-listed as one of the finalists in the Emerging category of the 2019 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Ireland programme.

Rye River was founded in 2013 by Mr Cronin, Niall Phelan and Alan Wolfe, but is now headed by Cronin following the departures of his co-founders in early 2017.

The business has received investments of around €10m in total, including backing from alternative lender Bluebay that has since been taken over by DunPort Capital Management which is now the material investor in Rye River Brewing.

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