Today (15th May) Bath Ales officially opened the doors of its new state-of-the-art brew house.
Hare Brewery, in Warmley, has doubled the west country brewer’s previous brewing capacity. The multi-million-pound investment project will enable Bath Ales to produce 50,000 brewers’ barrels of beer – close to 14.5m pints a year.
Over 500 guests throughout the day joined celebrations at the brewery, which was officially opened by Tarquin McDonald, chief executive, Bath Rugby. To mark the occasion a bronze hare statue, crafted by Cornish artist Hamish Mackie, was unveiled – a symbolic gesture to mark the coming together of Bath and Cornwall following the purchase of Bath Ales by St Austell Brewery in 2016.
Sophisticated new equipment at the four-vessel brewery will enable the team to produce a wider variety of beer styles to complement Bath Ales’ existing range.
Darren James, senior brewer, who has been at Bath Ales for over 15 years, says: “Opening Hare Brewery – which we’ve built from the ground up – is a very exciting moment for everyone involved.
“Extra capacity means more beer for Bath Ales’ drinkers including our flagship ale Gem. And we’ve already started brewing a wider range of beer styles on the new equipment including Sulis, our first lager.
“We’re quite literally opening the doors to the brewhouse in that beer fans will be able to see it for themselves – we’ll be holding regular brewery tours which means that people can see our new kit and visit our tap room to taste our beers at their freshest.”
Fellow west country brewer and pub company, St Austell Brewery, first announced its ambitious multi-million-pound plans for Bath Ales shortly after the acquisition in July 2016. The independent company, which is still family-owned, committed to a long-term investment growth plan for the Bath Ales brand and business.
Brewing director, Roger Ryman, who oversees brewing and production at Bath Ales and St Austell Brewery said: “From the very start of the project we’ve all shared a clear vision for Hare Brewery: to build one of the region’s most technologically advanced and fully bespoke brewhouses. To see this come to fruition today is a milestone moment for us.
“We hope the new brewery will play its part in shining a light on the vibrant south west beer scene. Since Bath Ales joined the St Austell Brewery family, there’s been a continued passion and appreciation of only brewing the highest quality beers. Our commitment to building the new brewery demonstrates our commitment to the brand’s long-term future.”
James Staughton, chief executive, St Austell Brewery (Bath Ales’ parent company) who welcomed guests and local officials at the brewery opening, said: “We’re delighted to be up and running, brewing beer and welcoming visitors to Hare Brewery. As the south west’s most sophisticated and technologically advanced brew house, it’s a project that we’re immensely proud of.
“Today’s official opening marks the culmination of two year’s hard work since we acquired Bath Ales in July 2016. I’m thrilled that we’re all here today to celebrate the next chapter in the storybook that is Bath Ales and the coming together of two south west businesses with shared values.”
Internationally-renowned Musk Engineering Ltd has built the new brewery at the existing headquarters in Warmley, between Bath and Bristol.