Alechemy is the brainchild of scientist James Davies. Doctor of microbiology, James began his career in the pharmaceutical industry until his passion and talent for brewing great beers led him to set up his own brewery five years ago.
He has since grown the business to an annual turnover of £500k and its highly acclaimed craft beers, which include Ritual Pale Ale, 5ive Sisters Red IPA and the award-winning Bad Day At The Office IPA, are stocked in hundreds of bars across the UK as well as stores such as Morrisons, Waitrose, Co-Op, and Oddbins.
Alechemy employs 10 people at its brewery in Livingston, including James’s mum Marion, who is a director, as well as sister Lynne Hope and her husband Kenny.
James, 39, was looking at options to increase Alechemy’s brewing and packaging capability and its sales and marketing resource at the same time as Catalyst Drinks were looking for a craft beer business in which to invest funds and expertise.
Their six-figure deal will see Alechemy moving to bigger premises in Livingston, measuring 6,500 square foot, twice the size of its current space. The move to the Alba Campus early next year, means the company will be able to can and bottle its own beers on-site, expand production of keg and cask beers, and create extra jobs.
Glasgow-based Catalyst Drinks, which brings substantial industry sales and marketing experience, is led by Jim Young who has been in the drinks industry for over 30 years as director at Scottish & Newcastle, Belhaven, Tennent’s and Magners. Jim first moved into the craft beer sector in 2010 as a co-director and shareholder in the Due North Group which owned Scotland’s first chain of craft beer bars in Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow.
Jim said, “I knew before we spoke what a great reputation James has and how highly he is respected by his fellow brewers and as soon as I met him we hit it off. My aim is to help James increase awareness, interest, and availability of his beers. He consistently brews fantastic liquids which I have been genuinely wowed by. I believe Alechemy beers deserve to be appreciated by as many consumers as possible.”
James Davies said, “I felt that, although we’d grown our turnover quite quickly, I wanted to get to the next stage. We take great pride in our beer, and I value consistency and quality. We’re always experimenting, looking to try something new to bring our customers memorable flavours. I felt Jim got what we are about and that the partnership would help us achieve the growth and presence in the market we both believe Alechemy beers deserve.”
The company has come a long way. James’s sister Lynne, 32 remembers helping her brother bottle his beers in the family bathroom. Lynne said, “He was always bringing us beer to try. There was always lots of competition between James’s fellow science students, as they were all making beers and having competitions to see who made the best – and James always won!”