Lake District brewer Hawkshead is to build a new brewery as part of an expansion scheme following its acquisition by Merseyside drinks business Halewood in March 2017.
A deal has been agreed with German manufacturer Krones to build a 6,500-litre rapid-batch brewhouse, capable of multiple brews per day, on a site in South Cumbria owned by Halewood. The existing brewery, part of an old wood-turning mill complex in Staveley, will continue production as a small-batch specialist, producing limited edition beers. It currently has a capacity of 7,000 barrels per year.
Head brewer Matt Clarke said: “Our current 20-barrel plant is the perfect size for innovation and experimentation, but we also need more volume. By adding the new Krones-Steinker brewhouse, the best in the business, we will free up space at Staveley for more small-batch projects, including our barrel-aging programme. For the first time we will have space to breathe and grow.”
Founder and managing director Alex Brodie said that while Hawkshead would grow production of keg, canned and bottled beer, it would also grow the volume of cask ale it produces.
The rise of craft ale, particularly keg and canned, has been one of the key stories of the food and beverage sector in recent years, with several pioneers selling out to multinationals. Brodie, a former BBC foreign correspondent who established Hawkshead in 2002, has been able to blend a traditional approach with modern methods and beer styles to build up a loyal following, and the £3m brewery investment will be watched keenly in the industry.
Mark Heath, sales director of Krones UK, said the system will be a showcase for the firm, demonstrating “how rapid-batch brewing can future-proof a modern, small brewery”.