Who are Chapel Down?
We discuss the Chapel Down story with Frazer Thompson, the CEO of the Chapel Down Group PLC. Based in Kent, they were originally seen as crazy, however when Taittinger Wines bought a vineyard next door, their fortunes took a positive turn. Chapel Down had identified an opportunity in England that wasn’t being taken full advantage of, Chalk. Growing grapes on Chalk is an important commodity for wine creation. Champagne famously being made from grapes grown on chalk.
The last 7 or 8 years has seen an explosion in their business. Their customers range from 10 Downing Street, Walpole Group, Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants. A joyful story of creating something from nothing.
Why list on the NEX exchange?
They were lucky at the beginning of their business to get Nigel Wray at an early stage as an investor in 2004. Originally listed on OFEX, this was done purely to give the company the discipline to present themselves as a serious company. Albeit they are not a heavily traded stock; it does give them a market. Furthermore as a consumer brand, it allows them to gauge with investors and consumers.
Now that they are an established brand; how has that helped them move forward? Frazer tells us that at the core they are a wine maker. Irrespective of how large their beer and spirit arms grow; they will always be a wine maker. As a wine maker, they have licence to do things other creators cannot. Their beer will always be more interesting than a normal brewers beer.
They are crafting a beer that other brewers cannot do as they do not have access to the facilities that a wine maker such as themselves does. Their beer for example is made with Champagne yeast. Wine is a cash degenerative business that takes a long time, so their beer business allows them to keep liquid. Working very well in harmony with one another.
Furthermore from the beer there is their Gin offering. Once again a unique variety that is made with the skin of the grapes used in their wine production. Meaning it is unique and distinctive. This is illustrative of the company as a whole, doing things others cannot and making full use of all resources available to them.
Frazer then moves on to discuss the money raise and how the sum of money is going to be transformative for the company. He then moves on to discuss how the money will allow them to build a brewery to grow their beer business. He finishes by discussing the plans for the next 12 to 24 months for the company.