The Hartlepool-based business is one of 10 firms in Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, and Stockton-on-Tees to benefit from the Tees Valley Business Compass’ £2.4m slice of the national pie.
And it hopes to use the money to invest in a new 10,000 bottle an hour packaging system, allowing it to expand both its own take home range and its contract brewing operation.
“Camerons Brewery is now the only remaining major independent family brewer in the North East and, as it approaches its 150th anniversary, the addition of a bottling capability will allow the business to adapt to changing consumer trends and help cement the site’s future long term prosperity,” said the company’s director and general manger Chris Soley.
“Without the grant assistance through the Business Growth Investment Scheme, we would have been unable to finance the project and lost out on the opportunity to grow the business and help secure the long term future of the brewery.
“But as a result of the funding, we are able to install a beer bottling line capable of packaging up to 10,000 bottles per hour – The investment adds a further vital dimension to our UK renowned contract brewing services.”
The Tees Valley Business Compass scheme offers between £25,000 and £1,000,000 of grant support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) looking to invest in their business to achieve sustainable growth.
That could mean an improvement or expansion of premises, investment in research and development or investment in new plant, equipment and machinery. Alternatively the grant could help cover the cost of new staff whose jobs have been created as a result of a capital funded project.
At Camerons, as well as the machinery, the cash will lead to the creation of 12 full-time jobs and safeguard three further jobs by 2016.
It is also hoped that the investment will allow the brewer, which was set up in 1865 and which has its own estate of more than 70 pubs in the North East, to export more of its beer.
Stephen Catchpole, managing director of Tees Valley Unlimited, which leads the Business Compass project, said: “Growth, sustainability and job creation are at the core of what this scheme is about and it’s encouraging to see how the funding has assisted Camerons Brewery in investing in a project which looks set to secure a long and fruitful future here in the Tees Valley.”
Hartlepool councillor Kevin Cranney, whose authority is also a member of the Business Compass, said: “Camerons Brewery has a long and proud tradition in Hartlepool for brewing going back almost 150 years and we are delighted to support their application for funding.
“This will enable them to expand into new markets, grow the business and create extra jobs which is excellent news.”