Become an owner of Devon's New Lion Brewery, and help us create one of the very first community-owned breweries in Britain.
by New Lion Brewery in Dartington, England, United Kingdom
For the last 5 years we have built a strong identity, one rooted in the community of Totnes and Dartington, its local entrepreneurs and its produce.
We've won multiple awards, and are gaining a national recognition as brewers of something really pretty remarkable. But if you’ve drunk our beers, you don’t need us to tell you that.
We’ve long outgrown our base on Station Road and so when the opportunity came up to move to Webber’s Yard next to our friends at the Almond Thief Bakery, we couldn’t turn that down. It’s given us the space to dream, and to create something wonderful.
We dream of taking a new approach to rewarding our investors, by paying you an interest return on your investment, either 3% in cash or, more generously, 4% in beer. (We were inspired by the wonderful Handmade Bakery in Slaithwaite, Yorkshire, who pay investors with a ‘bread bond’)
We dream of being a brewery that takes its responsibility to the planet very seriously, that aims to be a force for good. This crowdfunder will enable us, through the use of a combination of air source heat pumps, solar power and buying renewable energy, to hugely cut the carbon footprint of the brewing process.
We dream of having a beautiful and expanded brewery which, when not being used to brew ever- more delicious and extraordinary beers, is a Brewery Tap, a music venue, a space for art classes and performance, and many more things that you will help us dream of.
We dream of becoming a business owned by its members, who help shape it, help it grow and deepen its roots into this place, help it become a real driver for good change in the local community, and help to tell the story of the economic regeneration of Totnes and Dartington to the world. Community ownership was our dream from day one, we are so thrilled to now be able to make it a reality by transforming into a Community Benefit Society.
We dream that perhaps, in 3 years, we might win a joint BBC Good Food Award with The Almond Thief, in recognition of our exploration of the symbioses that become possible when a bakery and a brewery co-exist under one roof. Beer made from surplus bread. Bread made with beer. Biscuits made using roasted spent grains from the brewery. Beers created using spontaneous fermentation using just the wild yeasts in the Dartington air, creating beers that could, literally, not be created anywhere else.
This is your opportunity to help us make these dreams a reality. If you’ve tried our beers, then the idea that we can create amazing things from simple ingredients will not be news to you. We’d love you to join us on the journey to take this to another level.
We sold our first pint from New Lion Brewery on New Year’s Eve 2013 (hence our ‘Back since 2013’ tag line). We sprang from the convergence of two groups who had been working independently towards establishing a brewery in Totnes.
Rob and Kathy Alexander, landlords at the Bay Horse Inn, had previously bought the building on South Street that had housed the original Lion Brewery, which was a major brewer in Totnes until 1921, and they felt it was time to bring the Lion back. Joining forces with another group with roots in the town’s Transition Town movement, who had been exploring the role a brewery might play in the town’s economic regeneration, they united around founding principles of sustainability, community, profitability and innovation. With the subsequent addition of some like-minded foundation investors, the New Lion Brewery was born...
Under the steady hand of our first Head Brewer, Matt Henney, New Lion rapidly developed a large following for our three core beers, Totnes Stout, Mane Event and particularly for our ever-popular Pandit. Our Friday and Saturday evening pop-up Taprooms have becoming increasingly popular, drawing drinkers from further and further afield. We have hosted gigs during the Sea Change Festival, a particular highlight being when Ryley Walker played to a packed brewery, an event for which we brewed a rye beer called ‘Ryeley Walker’.
Our ‘White Label Series’, of short-run releases of more experimental beers have become an essential part of what we do, which also enable our brewers to keep experimenting and innovating. Highlights of the series so far include D.I.B.S., an occasional release created in association with the Devon Independent Bottle Shops (hence the name), who come in and help brew it.
Other standouts include our popular Chuckleberry Sour, brewed using chuckleberries from Dame Hannah’s at Seale Hayne near Newton Abbot, our Ultimate Triumvirate (a saison made with cider yeast which is aged in wine barrels from the nearby Sharpham Vineyard), Local Hero, brewed with hops grown in and around Totnes by our Hop Club, and The Barrel Thief, a barley wine brewed using surplus bread from the Almond Thief. Then there was the stout flavoured with oyster mushrooms grown by local social enterprise ‘GroCycle’, using our spend grains, mixed with coffee grounds, as the growing medium. It’s a beer people still talk about. We called it ‘the Circular Economy in a glass’.
Every year on our birthday we release a new addition to our ‘Cellar Series’, a collection of stronger beers which, like wine, can be laid down for many years and which improve with age. Releases so far include a Russian Imperial Stout, a Quadrupel, a Barley Wine and, most recently, a Baltic Porter. Every year half of the bottles are released, so with time they become increasingly rare (and delicious).
We also do Community Brews, which honour or mark what we see as being particularly important developments in the town, so releases have
included beers which draw attention to community campaigns, such as our Brimhay Beer, which brought together all the four local breweries in opposition to the redevelopment of Brimhay in Dartington, or our Totnes Pound IPA, brewed to mark the release of the new Totnes Pounds, or our Atmos Ale, in support of the Atmos Totnes project.
For us, every beer we create is an opportunity to tell a story about what our community is, and what it could become. Now under the calm hand of our new Head Brewer, Jac Ziegler, aided by Josh and Sam, we look forward to building on the dynamic foundations we have laid thus far.
We see what we do with our small but wonderful brewery as being part of a bigger story. In response to the deeply challenging and difficult times we live in, all over the world people are responding with imagination, creativity and determination, coming together to build new local economies which better meet the needs of local people.
They are seeking new ways to create work for local people, opportunities for people to invest into their own communities rather into the banks that are responsible for so much of what’s going wrong in the world, and creating spaces in which people can come together to socialise and connect.
In this context, when you invest in New Lion Brewery you can be sure that:
We've got more detailed financial projections in our offer document which you can download below.
We aim to pay interest on shares each year and if things work out as we hope, we anticipate being in a position to pay interest of 3% in cash or 4% in beer. When we've been trading for a few years, we will enable people to withdraw (ie, get their money back) on a first-come, first-served basis.
Our governing rules detail how this happens, and investors are urged to read those rules and the offer document before investing.
The Community Shares Standard Mark is awarded by the Community Shares Unit to offers that meet national standards of good practice. For more information about community shares, the Community Shares Standard Mark and the Community Shares Unit go to www.communityshares.org.uk