It has been a landmark week for West Berkshire Brewery. The multi-award winning beer maker has put pen to paper on a new £3m custom-built, cutting-edge brewery capable of increasing brewing capacity ten-fold – and secured its first urban pub, Shillibeer’s in Islington, London.
The new brewery will be situated in a former dairy just a few hundred yards from the current site. Heads of Terms have been agreed with current landlords, Yattendon Estates, and, subject to planning, building works will begin soon. The new brewery will feature state-of-the art equipment capable of creating a vast range of beer styles. It will also allow West Berkshire Brewery to provide packaging facilities for other breweries. It is hoped that a shop, complete with bar and beer garden will be included, along with the provision of public brewery tours.
The 4,450 square foot London pub, Shillibeer’s, will allow the brewery to showcase its traditional cask ales, alongside the new craft beers from its Renegade Brewery range. A new menu of quality food designed to pair with selected beers will be introduced at the venue, which is split across three levels and includes a kitchen and deli.
The developments signal a new era for the brewer, which attracted legendary brewing veteran David Bruce to invest in the company and join the Board as Chairman in 2013.
Bruce said: “This is a real turning point for us at West Berkshire Brewery. We are thrilled to have secured such a fantastic site in one of London’s most exciting areas. For the first time we can proudly serve our beers directly to customers. Our pub will be full of atmosphere and showcase a stunning range of beers and ciders from all over the world, including those we make ourselves. It will really put our brewery on the map.
“We’re just as excited to have signed an agreement for our new brewery. We have a fabulous brewing team who are full of ideas and our new equipment will enable them to let their creativity loose. It also means that we can significantly increase our production, allowing us to spread our wings further than our current distribution heartland; it’s truly an exciting time.”
The new brewing equipment from experts, CFT, based in Parma, Italy, is a state-of-the-art, three-vessel brewery that will enable the brew team to increase the current range of beer styles, while a fully automated and flexible packaging line will be able to pack 7,000 bottles or 12,000 cans per hour and will allow West Berkshire Brewery to begin high-quality contract packaging for other breweries.
The deals have been signed during the company’s crowdfunding campaign, via both the Asset Match and Seedrs platforms, which aims to raise £1.5m to help to fund the new initiatives. Shares are priced at £3 per share, with a minimum purchase of four shares (equating to a minimum spend of £12). So far the company has raised over £1.36m via the process which closes on 14th June. The crowdfunding initiative draws an end to a wider fundraising project to raise £4m to fund the expansion of the brewery.