Brewery news – September 2020

AFFINITY BREW CO

Affinity have now started brewing in the basement of the Grosvenor Arms in Stockwell and hope to have their first beers ready in mid to late September. The pub still retains it link to the nearby Priory Arms.

BATTERSEA BREWERY

Battersea Brewery, housed in the railway arches near the power station, have recently produced a dark classic English bitter which they have called Ominous Sand Hump. What can they be referring to?

BEAVERTOWN BREWERY

As part of their purchase of a minority stake in Beavertown in 2018, Heineken put £40 million into the building of a new brewery, said to be the largest in London, on the former Ediswan factory in Ponders End. Brewing has now started at what is called Beaverworld and the development of the six acre site should bring 150 new jobs to the area. As well as a brewhouse allowing Beavertown to increase production tenfold to 500,000 hectolitres (hl) per annum, the site will also provide offices, warehouse and transport facilities. Logan Plant, Beavertown’s founder and chief executive, told the Drinks Business website, “We’re thrilled that we’ve now started brewing on site in Enfield. We’re confident that with Beaverworld, we have created a quality-driven brewery with passion and love for the craft at its core. Beaverworld is the answer to our dream of getting more Beavertown in the hands of the masses and we could not be more excited that it’s now up and running.

BELLEVILLE BREWING CO

Following an upgrade of their site, Belleville has boosted its brewing capacity from 60 hl to 200 hl per week. They have also installed a canning line. This will help the brewery keep up with demand for its most popular brands, London Steam Lager and Picnic Session IPA, which proved very popular for home delivery during lockdown. The brewery taproom at 44 Jaggard Way SW12 8SG (close to Wandsworth Common station) has reopened and founder Adrian Thomas said, “We’re proud to be offering a special discount to all NHS workers who have been heroes throughout this.”

CRATE BREWERY

Crate have given up their separate brewery in Queen’s Yard but the taproom and pizzeria is still open at the original site, the White Building, close by, by the canal (E9 5EN). The brewing equipment in the White Building is understood to have been refurbished and is being used to supply the beer.

FOREST ROAD

The company has been having its beers brewed under contract since it was founded in 2015 but work has now started on converting a former tea warehouse in South Bermondsey into a brewery. The project will also include a taproom and should open early in 2021. Owner Pete Brown is happy because, as he told CAMRA’s newspaper, What’s Brewing, “I’ll finally be able to brew my own beer again.”

LONDON BEER FACTORY

The LBF has appointed John Keeling, the former brewing director at Fuller’s, as a non-executive director. Mr Keeling will help the company, formed in 2014, with its plans to move to larger premises and brewing barrel-aged beers and using wild yeast. Mr Keeling told CAMRA’s newspaper, What’s Brewing, “I am thrilled to be a part of a brewing project that has real ambition, established progress, and is operating in unique spaces within the UK’s craft beer scene.” Sim Cotton, LBF’s chief executive, said, “It is John’s experienced application of investment and proved growth that made him so promising to us at London Beer Factory. We are delighted to have him on board.”

REUNION ALES

I am sad to report that Reunion Ales, who were based in Feltham, Middlesex, have ceased trading after five years. Their brewing kit and associated equipment was put up for auction in September. It would be nice to think that a new or expanding London brewer will acquire it so, at least, some good comes out of it. We send our best wishes to Francis Smedley, Reunion’s founder, and thank him for the excellent beers that he provided.

TRUMAN’S BREWERY

I have mentioned previously that Truman’s had acquired a site in Walthamstow for a new brewery to replace their premises in Hackney Wick. The site is currently being used as the Truman’s Social Club. In anticipation of the move to the new brewery, Truman’s have ended brewing at their original site in Stour Road, Hackney Wick. It is understood that, in the meantime, they are brewing at the former Crate premises, as mentioned above.

VOLDEN

In 2015, having abandoned plans to open their own brewery, the Antic pub chain acquired the Clarence & Fredericks Brewing Co in Croydon and changed the name to Volden. The beer was only supplied to Antic pubs. They remained at the original C&F site until recently when, while Antic’s pubs were closed, they took the opportunity to relocate to an industrial estate in Forest Hill. The new brewery was up and running in time to start supplying Antic’s pubs again as soon as they reopened.

WIMBLEDON BREWERY

The brewery has expanded its ‘offer’, as the marketing people say, and now stocks a rosé wine made in partnership with the Greyfriars vineyard in Surrey and a gin.

Sadly, the company’s distinctive blue Land Rover which, as previously reported, was stolen on 29 June was found early in August completely burnt out.

CASK TASK

Casks, especially stainless steel ones, are expensive and keeping track of them has long been a major problem for breweries of all sizes. Keg Watch, a not-for-profit industry body which helps brewers recover missing casks, report that in 2019/2020 they recovered 166,625 casks with a value of close to £12.5 million. This included five lorry-loads that were intercepted at various ports on their way out of the country. I was recently sent an interesting press release by a company called Omni-ID, who specialise in radio frequency identification (RFID) tags. They have developed a tag that might help. The tags are weatherproof, have a ten year life and can be traced using an ‘app’ developed for the purpose.
Compiled by Tony Hedger