The arrival of three new fermenting and maturation vessels at Hogs Back Brewery has marked the start of a £400,000 expansion programme at the Surrey brewer.
The installation of one 80-barrel and two 120-barrel dual purpose vessels also includes the infrastructure for a further four 120-barrel vessels, as well as a new boiler and chilling system for the entire brewery.
The capital investment at the brewery in Tongham will also see the building of a new hop store and racking building, with a keg racker and sterile filtration equipment. A second warehouse will be built beside the existing listed barn, which will free space for a new visitors’ centre.
Hogs Back is also investing in jobs, with two new assistant brewers having already joined the team, and the business is now searching for additional marketing and sales staff.
The tricky task of manoeuvring the three stainless steel tanks, the heaviest weighing 3.2 tonnes, involved a 50-foot crane. The vessels will be used to ferment and mature Hogstar English Craft Lager to keep up with growing demand. They will also provide more capacity for the brewery’s new craft keg beer, London’s Outback, which was launched at Craft Beer Rising earlier this year.
Hogs Back owner Rupert Thompson said: “Hogstar is an authentic lager which is matured for a minimum of 28 days in order to give the beer its combination of depth of flavour and refreshment. With sales of Hogstar growing in bottles, cans and kegs we needed increased maturation capacity and to free up fermentation space for our bestseller,TEA.
“The successful launch of London’s Outback has also created a need for increased kegging capacity, and the filtration plant will allow us to do small runs of cans on site.
“Our biggest challenge is adding capacity on our existing small site. There were one or two sharp intakes of breath as the new vessels were moved into place, but our location in Tongham is an integral part of our identity.
“This is where we grow our hops and brew our beer, and it’s well worth the time and investment needed to expand on our existing site, in order to retain our place at the heart of the local Surrey community.”