The company reports that total revenue for the year was up 12% from €6.4 million in 2019 to €7.1 million last year with operating profit up 80% from €154,934 to €279,650 for the year ended the 31st of December 2020.
Domestic retail and off-licence growth of 65% in 2020 countered the reduction in on-trade and export demand, delivering 10% volume growth overall.
A reduction of 44% in the company’s interest payments followed the sale and leaseback of its Celbridge brewery in March 2020. This helped contribute to an overall net profit figure of €156,398 for 2020 from a net loss of €62,617 in 2019 according to the company.
Now employing 56 (up four on 2019) and in its eighth year of operation, Rye River continued to strengthen its status as the number one domestic retail independent brewer with overall volume growth of 10% last year in the face of significant reductions in export and on-premise sales, it reports.
The business reacted to the changed market dynamics as sales of beer shifted from the on-trade to large retailers and independent off-licences in the wake of Covid-19.
This led to the company enjoying a domestic retail performance growth of 65% year-on-year, offsetting a reduction in on-trade volumes of 75% and a fall in core brand exports of 89% respectively.
During 2020 Rye River also enhanced its reputation as Ireland’s most decorated craft brewery. 30 awards were secured at the 2020 World Beer Awards, beating the record of 21 earned the previous year. Among the WBA accolades were ‘Most Decorated Brewery in the World’ and ‘Best Stout in the World’ for its McGargles Export Stout.
During 2020 Rye River also became the first Irish craft beer brewery to achieve the British Retail Consortium Global Standard for Food Safety Certification, a Global Food Safety Initiative-recognised certification programme. Attaining this standard sets Rye River apart from its competitors by providing a framework for managing the safety, integrity and quality of its products which will further support Rye River in its journey to establish itself as a world-class brewery on a global stage, it claims.
Notwithstanding the challenging market in 2020 Rye River invested over €400,000 in its ongoing capital expenditure programme to meet growing demand by adding a new packaging line and a further three new Irish-made 10K Litre vessels, bringing to 23 the number of fermentation vessels. These, along with seven bright beer tanks, will allow the business capitalise on the growing national and international demand for its award-winning beers.
Investment continues in 2021 with the move to a 24/7 brewing shift pattern in the first Quarter of this year, expanding production capacity in line with customer demand. Later this year a new packaging line costing €1.3 million will be put in place to future-proof the business for further expansion and help adapt to the changing needs of consumers over time.
“2020 was an exceptionally challenging year for the hospitality sector at home and abroad,” noted Rye River’s Founder and Managing Director Tom Cronin, commenting on the company’s 2020 results, “The work done in recent years in having a more diversified channel strategy together with the hard-earned world-class reputation for the highest quality Irish craft beer meant our brands were able to respond successfully to the increased reliance on large retailers and independent off-licences during Covid-19.”