Pellicle, the independent beer, wine, and cider publication, is launching a fundraising drive aimed at achieving profitability before its fourth anniversary in May.
Matthew Curtis (left) and Jonathan Hamilton, co-founders of Pellicle. Photographs: Pellicle/Matthew Curtis
Founded in May 2019 by writer Matthew Curtis and brewer Jonathan Hamilton, Pellicle has grown to become one of the most popular consumer drinks platforms in the UK.
In 2022, its audience reached more than 100,000 unique readers and listeners — a 15% increase on the previous year—while its contributors picked up awards from the British Guild of Beer Writers and the North American Guild of Beer Writers. There were also nominations in the Fortnum & Mason Drinks Writing Awards, and the Guild of Food Writers Awards. In March 2022, it was heralded for best craft beer promotion by SIBA, the Society of Independent Brewers, at its annual Business Awards.
Pellicle expanded its team in 2021, with writers Lily Waite and Katie Mather joining as associate editors. In May 2022, with the cost of living crisis looming, the publication increased its rates, ensuring its contributors — who are all paid for their work — continued to receive fair remuneration for published features, photography, and illustration.
In almost four years of operation, Pellicle has worked with and paid more than 130 freelance writers, illustrators, and photographers. It also pays each of its editorial team a small retainer for their work behind the scenes.
Since increasing its rates, the publication has been running at a steady loss. In 2023, it intends to reverse this and become profitable, ensuring it can continue to invest in the freelancers who create the award-winning content.
Pellicle aims to create an almost entirely reader-supporter model through the Patreon platform. At the start of this year, the publication had achieved the target of 300 paid Patreon subscribers. This year its aim is to reach the target of 500 paid subscribers by its fourth anniversary on 1st May. Hitting this number means the publication would become
profitable, giving it the freedom to commission more work, as well as invest in its editorial team.
“After increasing our rates last year, we’ve more or less managed to maintain our level of subscribers, with our income staying the same,” said co-founder and editor in chief, Matthew Curtis. “As such, our resources have slowly become depleted.
“We want to spend more time working on the mag, both writing and commissioning more features, which we don’t want to be limited by not being able to afford it. This is only achievable if more paid subscribers get behind us, and help Pellicle become profitable in 2023.”