The new site is capable of producing 2.5M bottles of beer for one shift a day, five days a week.
The facility will require one extra production job, although the firm estimated it would take on more employees in the future as demand for its beers increased both in the UK and internationally.
Growth and efficiency
The new automated plant would also deliver greater efficiencies and “significant growth opportunities” at the brewery, the firm’s founder and master brewer Wim van der Spek claimed.
“Having had a very busy year last year, with two new beers in production and high demand from retailers such as Booths, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons and distributors abroad, the new plant is essential for our future growth and success,” he said.
“This puts us in a strong position to achieve our ambitious growth targets for 2015 and beyond by seizing new business opportunities throughout the UK and in new international markets, as the thirst for Little Valley beers continues unabated.”
The investment in the automated bottling plant, which was installed at the end of last year, was part of the brewery’s long-term growth and expansion plan, he added.
The brewery recently secured a listing of its Python IPA in more than 70 Morrisons stores across Yorkshire and Lancashire.
Last year, it also launched two new beers: Stage Winner, its special Tour de France beer, and Vanilla Porter, which was commissioned by a Finnish company and is now available in the UK.
Little Valley Brewery was now exporting to six markets and was exploring potential in other markets including the US and Canada, van der Spek said.
The brewery sits high on the Pennine moorland of Cragg Vale near to Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire. It brews a range of 100% organic beers with Yorkshire water.
Meanwhile the British Beer & Pub Association reported UK beer sales had risen by 1.3% in 2014, ending a decade-long decline for the drink.
The boost in beer sales followed “historic cuts” in the alcohol duty escalator by chancellor George Osborne in his March 2014 Budget.
The rise in sales in 2014 followed nine consecutive years of decline, which saw beer sales slide by 24% – with 6.7M fewer pints sold daily.