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Wye Valley to invest £2m to expand brewery and keep pace with demand

Added: Monday, July 2nd 2012

Wye Valley in Herefordshire, the brewery behind Butty Bach, HPA and the Dorothy Goodbody range of beers, is investing £2 million to expand its site at Stoke Lacy near Hereford to keep up with growing demand. The brewery was founded by Peter Amor in 1985 at Canon Pyne, moved to the Barrels pub in Hereford and then again to the former historic Symonds Cider factory at Stoke Lacy, where it’s run by Peter’s son Vernon Amor. Wye Valley now has the status of a sizeable regional brewery.

The brewery has recorded double-digit growth for more than five years and has to expand to keep with the clamour for its beers. The expansion will see the installation of a complete new brewhouse. The design will retain all the features of a traditional brewery, using whole hop flowers. But it will incorporate cutting-edge features that will represent a substantial leap in terms of energy consumption and sustainability. It will also provide a better working environment for both brewers and visitors.

The new brewhouse will double capacity, allowing Wye Valley to produce 24,500 barrels of cask beer a year and 60,000 cases of bottled beer.

The project is under the control of the British engineering firm Microdat, which is teaming up with Watergate Construction for the second time to build a new brewery. The two firms worked together to develop the Moorhouse’s Brewery in Burnley, Lancashire. The main brewing vessels will also be built in Britain by Musk.

Head Brewer Jimmy Swan says: “We took part in a lengthy evaluation of potential suppliers and it’s heartening that we have been able to find top-quality companies in Britain to carry out our expansion. Contrary to popular belief, British manufacturing it still very much alive.”

As part of the expansion, Wye Valley is taking on an engineering supervisor, Hywel Davies, an experienced electrical and mechanical engineer who has worked at Bulmer’s and Weston’s Cider.

*Photo shows (left to right) Wye Valley Head Brewer Jimmy Swan, Steve Midgeley of Microdat, Wye Valley managing director Vernon Amor and Richard Cryer of Watergate.

Another fast-growing brewery, Thornbridge of Bakewell, Derbyshire, has added to its pub estate with a lease deal with Punch Taverns. Thornbridge will now run the Cross Scythes, Derbyshire Lane, Sheffield, while Punch will invest £200,000 to refurbish the pub.

Thornbridge Chief Operating Officer Simon Webster said: “Both sides are keen to make the best of a site that has under-performed for some years.” The investment will turn the 1930s pub into a destination outlet for the local community.