Suffolk brewer reveals new strategy as Russian embargo hits sales

Steve Magnall, chief executive of St Peter's Brewery. Picture submitted.

Steve Magnall, chief executive of St Peter's Brewery. Picture submitted. - Credit: Archant

The boss of a Suffolk brewer has revealed bold plans to put the business on a firmer financial footing after it mounted bigger losses.

Business feature at St Peters Brewery with MD Colin Cordy.

Business feature at St Peters Brewery with MD Colin Cordy. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Steve Magnall, chief executive of St Peter’s Brewery, based at St Peter South Elmham, near Bungay, has drawn-up a five-pronged strategy – which includes breaking into new export markets, opening new pubs, and cutting costs – to drive the company back to profit within the year.

According to the latest accounts filed to Companies House, St Peter’s Brewery Group saw turnover fall from £4.1m to £3.8m to February 28 2015, while losses before tax steepened from £5,574 to £44,772 over the same period.

The financial fall-back has been partly caused by challenges in the export market. Russia’s import embargo – sparked by the conflict with Ukraine – saw sales to the country fall 30% year-on-year, while the rise of craft brewers in US and Canada has also put pressure on its foothold across Northern America.

But Mr Magnall is eyeing a return to form on the international stage by targeting fresh growth in Chinese and Indian markets, alongside plans to bolster its presence closer to home by opening more pubs in the UK.

It comes as the company – which employs 30 staff – looks set to launch its first gluten-free beer – with more than 600 Tesco stores taking the product, as well as the Co-op.

Mr Magnall said he had taken decision to invest in order to cut costs, including redesigning packaging for supermarket distribution and driving capital expenditure into new malt stores so the company can reduce the price it pays by taking bigger orders. The decision to bolster its pub portfolio follows the success of its London pub, The Jerusalem Tavern in Clerkenwell.

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