Startups Awards Hall of Fame: James Brown, Beer52

Last year's Young Entrepreneur and Business of the Year winner tells us why a Startups Award meant validation, investor interest and the "feel good factor"

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  • Natasha Mc Gowan

From seasoned beer lovers to ‘hipsters' wanting to get ahead of the crowd by tapping into the rising trend of craft beer, the subscription beer market has grown at a unprecedented rate with numerous start-ups launching all over the UK in an attempt to grab a slice of this ever growing pie.

At the fore of this group, both in terms of start-up date and scalability, is Edinburgh-based craft beer club Beer52, who last year beat the other 35 Startups Awards finalists to win the prestigious Simply Business Startups Business of the Year award. The start-up, launched by then 24 year-old James Brown (also our Young Entrepreneur of the Year awardee), won the top prize due to its impressive growth rate – generating a revenue of £1m within a year of launch. 

Now Brown is back to tell us about the company's continued growth, 790% to be exact, as well as what winning at the Startups Awards meant for him and his business.

What’s happened in the last year since you entered the Startups Awards?

A lot has happened in terms of growth since we won the Business of the Year award last year but to give you a quick run through we hit 10,000 members and are now on track to turnover in excess of £2.6m this year, our revenue is growing at a rate of 15% month-on-month and we witnessed a 790% growth from May last year to May this year.

We have also hired two new full-time employees, to help us handle all of this growth!

What’s been the single biggest highlight for the business since winning?

The biggest highlight has to be between hitting our 10,000 member milestone and £270,000 monthly revenue. Both were major successes for the company!

What are you hoping to achieve in the next year or so?

The plan is to double our membership to 20,000 within the next 12 months.

What did winning at the Startups Awards mean to you?

To win the double scoop was mind blowing, I was completely shocked. We were up against some great businesses with bigger teams who have had a lot more funding than us so we were punching well above our weight, exactly what being a start-up is all about.

Since then we’ve attracted various investors and partnerships that will help us reach the next stage in our journey.

Why would you recommend entering awards like this?

There are a number of reasons such as validation for your idea, recognition for your hard work, the press coverage and finally the feel good factor – it really boosts the team morale.

To enter the 2015 Startups Awards, click here.

Natasha Mc Gowan

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