Family brewer Charles Wells revealed it has submitted a planning application for a £13 million (m) brewery and visitor centre near Bedford.
The land at Fairhill, off the A6 in Bedford, will see the build of a 30,000-hectolitre brewery, visitor centre with brewery tours and on-site pub. Charles Wells sold its brewery and certain brands, including Bombardier, to Marston’s in 2017, but retained its pub estate, which has just over 200 pubs. It also retained its Charlie Wells and John Bull beer brands.
Charles Wells’ commercial director Peter Wells said: “Building this brewery in our home town maintains our heritage, but gives us an opportunity to further develop our story and create exciting new beers and experiences that will continue to support our loyal Pub Partners and their customers.”
Meanwhile, the Five Points Brewing Co, an independent craft brewery in Hackney, London, is launching its first round of crowdfunded investment on Friday 9 March, 2018 with the aim of raising £750,000.
The capital will be used to invest in new brewhouse equipment and fermentation tanks, which will triple production capacity volume. The brewery already hit full capacity in 2016 and has been brewing some of its beer with an independent family-owned brewery in Belgium. The investment will allow it to bring production back to the UK and enable the brewery to increase sales from 2m to 6m pints (34,000 hectolitres) a year.
The brewer said the fundraising would also mean it could invest in growing its team, as well as expanding UK distribution and developing its export business.
Passionate beer lovers
The Five Points Brewing Company co-founder and managing director Ed Mason said: “We founded The Five Points in the heart of East London with a commitment to the community, and the prospect of inviting the community to join us on our journey is really exciting.
“What we love about crowdfunding is the ability to welcome on board hundreds, maybe thousands of passionate beer lovers, who will be literally investing in the success of our company.”
The Five Points Brewing Company is not the only small brewer looking to expand.
Hull-based Atom Brewery has said it is looking to increase its capacity, but admitted it has a “long road to go”. The brewer, created by Allan Rice and Sarah Thackray in 2014, launched more than 14 different beers in its first year.
In a statement on Facebook, it said: “We are still considering a variety of options, from potentially expanding our current site, converting an existing location or building a brand new home in a suitable location.
“The investment to build a new brewery and bar is substantial and we are currently involved in conversations with various stakeholders.”