About the company
Horsforth Brewery, based in Leeds, was set up by business entrepreneur Mark Costello, in the summer of 2017. Originally working in finance, Mark’s lifelong ambition to be his own boss became a reality when his attempt at home brewing was a success. The company specialises in German wheat beers and Saisons (highly carbonated, fruity beers), alongside their increasing stock of pale ales, IPAs and blondes.
At the start of Mark’s business journey, he was working from his garage, brewing beer on a small scale, and was ready to move into premises and look at funding options. He attended the Leeds Trinity Business Network event where he was introduced to the Ad:Venture programme. It was then that Mark was put into contact with Kris Keighley, the Ad:Venture business adviser at Leeds Trinity.
Horsforth Brewery worked closely with Kris to: source premises; invest in larger equipment; draw up a robust business plan; and manage his cashflow forecasts. Horfsorth Brewery’s submission for a grant of £10,850 was successful, which meant Mark could satisfy the growing demand for his beer, leave his job to work full time in the brewery, and employ staff.
From March 2020, these aims became reality, and Mark now works full time in the brewery with his two employees. Although COVID-19 closed public houses, Mark was able to cast his net wider, selling to more retailers and providing home deliveries. Due to the company’s rapid growth, Mark contacted Kris to discuss expanding the business further, so that he could brew larger quantities of beer. A second grant was requested from Ad:Venture for a new canning machine and conditioning tanks for the larger brewery.
Moving forward, this will mean Horsforth Brewery can produce the higher standard product required by distribution companies to sell into larger retailers. Mark will also be able to help other local small craft breweries to can their products and increase the standard of their packaging and shelf life.
Mark advised that the process of applying for a grant is time-consuming, however it is worth it. He said: “One thing I really like about the grant funding is that it means I can keep my independence and still grow the business. It has enabled me, and will enable me, to completely transform the brewery into a proper establishment. It opens a lot more doors because as you pay for it up front, you then get an influx of money that can be re-invested somewhere else in the business.”
He also commented on the invaluable advice Kris gave him: ‘I can’t thank Kris enough for helping me build on my business plan and I have really appreciated the way Ad:Venture has often given me reassurance that the path I am taking is the right one.’ Mark especially appreciated Kris’s general outlook. He added: ”He makes me be more realistic with projections rather than overly pessimistic which is my natural tendency.”
Kris commented: “It’s been great to support the growth of Horsforth Brewery in the two-and-a-half years I’ve worked with Mark…he has become a force on the Leeds Craft Brewing scene.”