Brighton and Hove coffee shop chain Small Batch set for big growth

Posted On 18 Nov 2015 at 12:27 am

The Brighton and Hove coffee shop chain Small Batch is preparing for a big growth in its business after bringing in one of Britain’s leading entrepreneurs.

The artisan coffee company has sold a majority stake to Risk Capital Partners, the private equity firm chaired by Luke Johnson, in a deal announced today (Wednesday 18 November).

Small Batch began roasting in 2006 and has since developed its own retail concept, growing to five stores across Brighton and Hove, together with two railway kiosks.

Its successful wholesale business provides branded and bespoke blends to an expanding list of leading restaurants, coffee shops and cafés throughout the country.
Risk Capital Partners is supporting the existing management team, led by chief executive Nigel Lambe, who has worked alongside the exiting founder, Brad Jacobsen, for the past five years.

Co-founder Alan Tomlins, runner up in the 2015 SCAE UK National Championship Roaster awards, will continue to head the coffee and roasting side of the business. And existing operations manager, Kris Katin, will head the retail business.

Luke Johnson said: “I am a huge fan of Small Batch Coffee, not just their delicious coffee but also their cool spaces, friendly staff and meticulous attention to detail.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to partner with Nigel and his team to help bring Small Batch to a wider audience.”
Nigel Lambe said: “I am delighted to be teaming up with Risk Capital Partners, who have unrivalled experience in retail and wholesale food and café businesses.

“We have great ambition for the Small Batch brand and sought out Luke and his team when the opportunity arose.”

Risk Capital Partners’ investments include the Laine Pub Company, formerly Inn Brighton, which is expanding into London on the back of more than two dozen pubs in Brighton and Hove.

It is also behind the transformation of the West End tea room Patisserie Valerie into a chain. It has a branch in Western Road, Hove.

And Risk Capital formerly had a stake in the Giraffe chain. It has a restaurant in North Road, Brighton.

Luke Johnson, 53, writes a column for the Sunday Times having earned fame and fortune as a co-owner of Pizza Express.

He used to own the Ivy, Le Caprice and J Sheeky restaurants and was the chairman of Channel 4 for six years. He owned the Belgo restaurant chain and founded Strada.

  1. Dan Wilson Reply

    Here’s hoping that they maintain that Small Batch USP: the too-cool-for-school snobbish staff. They are so delightfully sour to those uncool folks like me (see their noses crinkle and lips curl as I shamble in) and favouritist to their hipster mates, that if the coffee wasn’t so good, I would never return.

    Good luck. Keep the sneer. Don’t go corporate Small Batch!

    Dan Wilson

    • Christopher Hawtree Reply

      Isn’t this chain lauded by your MP? He dragged (ex) MPs to it earlier in the year…

      Meanwhile, Portland Road is looking interesting for coffee shops as well as the old caffs.

  2. Annoyed Reply

    Not only that but they are so slow and my order has been wrong every time I’ve been in there…which isn’t many times as its quite painful!

    • Rob Reply

      I’m no hipster and the staff always seem perfectly friendly to me. And I don’t recall them getting my orders wrong.

  3. Daisy Reply

    It’s a shame these small independent coffee shops sell out, this is what Mr Costa did and they have never been the same since

  4. Paul Knight Reply

    Great coffee, Great people, Great investment.
    Good luck with rolling out and good luck to Brad with his next venture.

  5. Lou Reply

    Worst coffee I and my 2 friends ever had. It was horrible. I had already decided not to go back in there – couldn’t understand how they’d become so popular with such nasty coffee

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