Marston's has an eagle's nest in Bedford
Added: Tuesday, January 23rd 2018
The official launch of the Eagle Brewery in Bedford has seen the brewery open to the public for the first time on a regular basis.
Formerly the Charles Wells brewery, it was sold to Marston’s in May 2017 for £55 million.
The newly-branded Eagle Brewery will not only be open to the public, but there will also be tours for the first time around the brewhouse, the fermenting rooms, and the bottling and canning lines -- some of the most extensive packaging operations in Britain. Existing space has been converted into a taproom -- for the ultimate in brewery-fresh beers -- a brewery shop and visitor centre, with a new visitors’ car park.
The Bedford brewery is home to many of Britain’s iconic ale brands including Bombardier, Courage and McEwan’s, and it has packaged world-famous brews such as Kirin Ichiban, Erdinger and Estrella Damm. Plans are already well underway to bring out a range of high-quality beers under the Eagle banner. Bombardier will get major promotion and Eagle IPA will become a national brand.
In addition, years before the current trend for exotic ingredients in craft ales, the brewery was brewing Sticky Toffee Pudding Beer, Banana Bread Beer, and the honey-infused Waggle Dance Beer – a Young’s beer for which Marston’s now owns the global licence. These beers are not only available in the UK but also in export markets.
The Eagle Brewery was home to the Glenn Miller Orchestra during the Second World War and the new bar was the site of his last ever performance. Bing Crosby also recorded there.
Breweries have always played a central part in the life of Bedford, and Marston’s will continue to support the town through a host of activities,whilst investing in new and existing beers.
Marston’s financial commitment to the Eagle’s brewing operations will see the brewery fly once again with significant investment already underway in its future, both as part of its community and as a leading brewer of top quality cask and bottled beers.
Marston's now operates six breweries across the UK, as well as an estate of 1,500 pubs across the country. It is the largest brewer of premium cask ale in Britain.
A historic beer could stage a comeback as a result of the Marston's takeover of Wells. Courage Imperial Russian Stout was acquired by Wells when it bought the former Courage brands from Heineken. Russian Stout was brewed in London from the late 18th century and was acquired by Courage when it merged with its neighbour in Southwark, Barclay Perkins.
The beer was exported to Russia and the Baltic States and it was given a royal warrant from the Russian court that allowed it to be labelled "Imperial".
The beer is 10 per cent alcohol and while a few batches were brewed by Charles Wells its strength and short run did not fit with the large-scale brewing kit. But Marston's has a special 60 barrel plant in Burton-on-Trent and it will consider producing Imperial Russian Stout there.