Hot Copper is a franchised group of pubs with their own microbreweries.
Puma Private Equity provided funding into three franchise companies (Hot Copper, Warm Hearth and Knott End Pub Company) of the Brewhouse & Kitchen (B&K) brand, a specialist pub owner/operator developing pubs with onsite breweries in strong locations across Southern England. With an initial investment of £3.1 million, Puma has since made subsequent investments, bringing the total sum committed up to £20.2 million. The funding has helped grow the overall B&K estate to more than 23 sites across England.
Funding was utilised to provide growth capital for the further build-out of the overall B&K branded estate. In December 2020 Knott End Pub Company Limited and Warm Hearth Limited were merged with Hot Copper. This resulted in Puma investors now holding shares in Hot Copper, and therefore having exposure to a larger, more diverse, mostly freehold estate.
B&K is the largest brewpub brand in the UK, distinctive for brewing its own unique craft beers onsite and running a participatory experience with beer tasting and brewing masterclasses.
The team continues to win numerous awards. In 2023, B&K was awarded Best Brewing Pub Company at the Publican Awards, as well as a plethora of other awards.
Hot Copper sustainability and environmental impact
The company has made significant investments to improve its sustainability and environmental impact, and is on a journey of continuous improvement. It has made real inroads into reductions in energy usage, including the launch of MinuteView – an Energy Performance Portal.
It uses the portal for the immediate real-time tracking of energy use data within the business, which has enabled it to dramatically increase the amount of oil it recycles. It has also installed high-power and low-energy consumption grills across the entire state. The expectation is that this will deliver an 8.59% saving in gas consumption and an 18-month return on capital employed.
The company’s view
“I’m so incredibly proud, after ten incredible years, 23 amazing brewpubs, the hard work of 480 awesome team members, we were awarded Best Brewing Pub Company at the 2023 Publican Awards.
“We’ve worked with the team at Puma as co-investors and franchise partners within B&K for five years. Puma has been front and centre in the facilitation and rapid growth of B&K. We enjoy a warm, supportive, and collaborative relationship and we look forward to continuing to build our business alongside Puma as we progress.”
Kelvin Reader, Investment Director at Puma Private Equity
“We have been impressed with management’s approach of prioritising cost efficiencies while simultaneously enhancing their customers’ experience with their offering. Despite the challenging trading environment since the pandemic, they continue to navigate this successfully, thereby putting them in a good position when the trading environment improves.”