£24 million Growth Programme

The Government has announced a new £24 million Growth Programme which aims to benefit rural communities by unlocking the huge potential for growth in the countryside.

Applications for the grants are now officially open and are set to give businesses a real boost by supporting projects that can make a big difference to the rural economy.

Local priorities have been established across the country meaning that this funding will be directly targeted at initiatives that will bring the biggest benefit for those local areas.

Opportunities could include helping people to expand or set up or new businesses, developing new food processing facilities and promoting tourism.

Individual grants are worth upwards of £35,000 depending on the individual project and will be offered in nine Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs). A further two rounds of the growth programme are expected in August and September and the remaining LEP areas will be invited over the next few months to apply for grants to help them support their local rural communities.

Please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/growth-programme-grants-for-the-rural-economy for further information about applying for grants

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New CEO for the IBD

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Jerry Avis to the position of Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling. Jerry has been selected after an international search and will commence his duties on November 2nd. He joins us from a senior position with Lancaster University, prior to which he held senior appointments with the University of Nottingham and with a range of companies centered especially in environmental issues. From 1984-1992 he spent productive years with Allied and Bass in research and quality assurance. He brings to the IBD considerable business management and leadership experience in a range of sectors, at the same time being well known by many in the world of brewing and distilling.

Jerry will take over from Simon Jackson, who announced his retirement in January. Simon retires with a huge vote of thanks in recognition of the outstanding job that he has done: he leaves the IBD in a far better place than when he joined us nine years ago.


Charlie Bamforth


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First International Thornbridge Bar To Open In The Netherlands

Thornbridge Den Bosch Logo Thornbridge beers are gaining popularity worldwide with exports growing in over 30 countries during the past 5 years.  And as the number of their international beer fans grow “Partnerships, says Simon Webster, Thornbridge’s Chief Operating Officer, with importers and those managing bars that stock Thornbridge are crucial to ensure our beers reach the drinker in the best of condition”.


Paul  Leeyen has been stocking Thornbridge beers for 3 years at his bar in Den Bosch in the Netherlands and has been  delighted with the response from his customers “high quality and a great variety of beer styles sets Thornbridge amongst the top breweries we deal with. Working with them and their importer Bier&cO has been a really positive experience”.


Paul has been so delighted with his Thornbridge partnership that he approached the brewery about the idea of opening a Thornbridge Bar in Den Bosch. “After visiting the brewery in late 2014 I was blown away by the passion for their beers that everyone at Thornbridge demonstrated. I knew that if I could find the correct site in ’s-Hertogenbosch  then a Thornbridge bar would be a great success”. After months of looking for the right site Paul has now found one and has been busy working with Thornbridge and Bier&cO with an aim of opening the Thornbridge@’s-Hertogenbosch on the 4th September.


Photo of Thornbridge Paul Leeyen and Simon Webster

Thornbridge Paul Leeyen and Simon Webster

Webster is excited by the concept “it really continues what we have been doing in the UK and on export – find and work with people who are as passionate about beer as we are and have skills that complement what we wish to do with Thornbridge beers. In Bier and Co we have an experienced importer and likewise with Paul. When we visited his current bar in ’s-Hertogenbosch, we knew our beers are in safe hands. So when he approached us to develop the Thornbridge Bar it excited us and it has been a lot of fun planning what we are sure will be a great success”.


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Devon Brewery Marks 25 Year Milestone With Charity Donations

Otter Brewery has raised over £7,500 following their recent Silver Anniversary birthday celebrations.

Established in 1990 by David and Mary Ann McCaig, the family run business near Honiton decided to help mark its first quarter century by supporting three local charities.

These are the Exeter Foundation, Hospiscare and Devon Air Ambulance Trust.

The money was raised over two nights as the brewery hosted a party for landlords, suppliers and associates followed two days later by a black tie Charity Ball attended by 340 guests.

Each charity was presented with a cheque this week for £2,555 by Patrick McCaig, Sales and Marketing Director of Otter Brewery.

Patrick comments: “As a family run business, a big part of our community work is supporting local charities that are close to our heart. We chose these three specifically because of the rapport we have with them and the invaluable work they do.”

“The Devon Air Ambulance needs no introduction but has to raise £4.5 million each year just to stay airborne. Hospiscare assists people who are terminally ill across Exeter and East Devon and this money will go directly towards running their new King’s House Day Hospice in Honiton. Finally, the Exeter Foundation, a ‘Civic Trust’ affiliated with the Exeter Chiefs, supports 18 further local charities which this year includes Families for Children, Age UK Exeter and Dream-A-Way who assist people with physical and learning difficulties.”

“The work that all of these organisations do will absolutely make a huge difference to thousands of people’s lives locally and that’s why we’re delighted to be able to help.”

The cheques were presented at Sandy Park to Marc Astley, Trustee of the Exeter Foundation, to Caroline Creer, Fundraising Director of Devon Air Ambulance Trust and to Richard Cousins, Corporate Relationships Manager for Hospiscare.

In November, Otter Brewery will once again be raising money for the Poppy Appeal with 5p from every pint of Poppy Otter sold in West Country pubs going straight to the Devon branch of The Royal British Legion.

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Wadworth Continue Long-Established Tradition With Arrival Of New Shire Horse

One of the last remaining breweries still using working Shire horses and drays to make deliveries, Wiltshire-based brewer Wadworth have committed to the continuation of a long-established  tradition with the arrival of 3 year old Shire ‘Archie’.

Photo of horses

Max with Martin (L), Monty with Hannah (C), Archie with Callum (R)

In their heyday, before the arrival of the internal combustion engine, more than 40 Shires were used by the family-owned brewery to deliver their famous ales to local inns and hostelries.

And although a far cry from those tranquil, golden days, the sight of the Wadworth Shires remains a familiar and much loved part of the local scene in Devizes.

“The shires are a big part of Wadworth’s history and are the heart of our business’’ says Wadworth Sales and Marketing Director Paul Sullivan.  ‘’We are determined to continue the brewery tradition of working with these wonderful animals, and Archie is the latest in an illustrious line.”


Still very much in training it’s hoped that Archie, who currently stands at 18.1 hands (and still growing!) will make the grade to become a fully-fledged working Wadworth Shire next year – joining Wadworth veterans Max (age 12) and Monty (11).


‘’Archie is currently being what we call ‘schooled and broken in’‘’ explains Wadworth Head Horseman Martin Whittle. ‘’His training will be a lengthy process – but one that is necessary to ensure he is fully prepared for work. Archie must get used to everything from wearing a harness, to pulling the dray, and also working alongside his colleagues Max and Monty.’’

Photo of Max and Monty out on delivery in Devizes

Max and Monty out on delivery in Devizes

‘’The role of a Wadworth working Shire isn’t for every horse – and not all make the grade’’ says Martin. ‘’but early indications are that Archie has settled in really well. He’s very friendly and loves meeting the visitors that come to the yard.’’

And with the Shires’ working day starting as early as 6am Archie will certainly be busy…

‘’Typically Monday-Friday the Shires are mucked out and groomed from around 6am to 8am’’ Martin explains. ‘’After being harnessed up ready for 9am, the work drays are loaded up at the brewery warehouse before the Shires set off into Devizes to make their morning deliveries. They are then exercised before returning to the stable yard at 12 noon.’’

‘’After lunch the stables are opened up to the public (from 1.30-3pm) where they have the opportunity to meet the horses.  They absolutely love all the fuss and attention!’’


And of course although essentially working horses, the Wadworth Shires make promotional visits to many of the pubs in the Wadworth estate, as well as taking part in Heavy Horse Shows and other public events throughout the summer months – winning many prizes for their immaculate turnout, grooming and show discipline.


But it isn’t all work and no play. Archie will join Max and Monty on their annual summer break from 7th August, when for two weeks the Shires kick up their heels and enjoy their freedom at their ‘holiday home’ near The Raven pub in Poulshot, near Devizes.


Hundreds gather to watch them enjoy a customary pint of beer before they are led through the village and released into the field to canter to their hearts content!


For more information on the history of the Wadworth Shire horses visit www.wadworth.co.uk.


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Summer Of Awards For Orkney Brewery

Orkney Gold logoThe Orkney Brewery is celebrating a summer of success, with two of its beers winning top national awards this month.


The brewery’s newest release, Orkney Gold – a 4.5 per cent craft keg beer – secured silver in the Premium Lager and Pilsner category at last week’s Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) North Region competition in Nottingham.


And earlier in the month, Orkney Brewery’s legendary 8.5 per cent Skull Splitter ale was named Champion Barley Wine/Strong Old Ale of Scotland 2015 at the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Champion Beer of Britain heats in Edinburgh.


The ale, which has a host of top awards to its name, will now go forward to next year’s Champion Beer of Britain finals.


Skull Splitter logoNorman Sinclair, managing director of Sinclair Breweries Ltd, said: “The weather this summer may have been disappointing, but these two prestigious awards have certainly brightened up our day. We’re particularly pleased to see one of our oldest ales, Skull Splitter, and our newest release, Orkney Gold, being recognised in the same month. Orkney Gold has only been available since April, so to win an award this quickly is an achievement we’re very proud of.”


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Half Full Beer Co Completes The Purchase Of Ilkley Brewery

Photo of acquisition teamHall Full Beer Co, based in West Yorkshire, is delighted to announce the acquisition of multi-award-winning Ilkley Brewery for an undisclosed sum. The purchase marks the first phase for Half Full Beer Co, with the launch of a separate, new brewery amongst their future plans. The buyout of Ilkley Brewery will see immediate investment on the existing site in the small Yorkshire town. There will be expansion in production facilities, upgrades to brewing kit, and the creation of new jobs.

Ilkley Brewery was founded in 2009 by a group of local beer enthusiasts, and started life in a humble site in the centre of town, producing cask ales for the local community. The brewery soon started to win awards for its well-balanced beers, and demand outgrew capacity. Local investment in 2011 saw production move to a larger site, and over the following 4 years, production capacity rose to over 45,000 pints per week. There was a complete rebrand during 2012, and the beer was distributed nationally and internationally, from Brighton to Edinburgh, and from America to China.

In Head Brewer Christa Sandquist, the brewery boasts one of the most talented and exciting young brewers in the industry, and the business has built an exceptional reputation for producing a varied and distinctive range of beers, many of which have won plaudits and awards around the world. Christa has been responsible for improving standards and consistency over the past 18 months, during which time the brewery’s awards tally has doubled, including most recently another Gold medal for The Mayan at the SIBA regional keg competition, within the last week.

Half Full Beer Co was formed by former Ilkley Brewery manager Luke Raven, who with the support of a team of excited and energetic investors, has spearheaded this project. Of the acquisition he said

“With the quality of their beers recognised, and demand high, the opportunity to continue to be a part of the Ilkley Brewery story was not one to be passed up. I formed Half Full Beer Co with an open remit to engage in the beer industry as a whole, and with a vision to develop a portfolio of brands. We are energized and focused on providing fresh impetus to continue building the Ilkley brand as an integral part of this portfolio.

“Our optimistic, open and community-based approached perfectly suits Ilkley Brewery, and as a local resident myself, this is a very proud day. I am delighted that Richard Shelton is remaining as a shareholder and Director, and can be confident that under his sustained stewardship, the business can continue to flourish.”

The brewery has been operating at full capacity for some time, unable to accept extra business despite demand from its 600-strong customer base. The new investment will allow production to double within 2 years.

At a time where interest in British brewing has never been higher, Ilkley beers will be available to more pubs, bars, restaurants and shops across the UK than ever before. Core brews Mary and Joshua Jane have recently launched in Marks and Spencer’s, supplementing the Ilkley presence in Morrisons, Sainsburys and Asda and with further listings imminent. Ilkley beers will also be representing Yorkshire at the forthcoming CAMRA Great British Beer Festival.

Speaking of the future plans, Managing Director Richard Shelton says

“This marks the start of yet another exciting chapter in the brewery’s history. Having already grown at an exceptional rate, I believe that this new partnership and the investment that comes with it will enable us to raise our ambitions and maximize our potential. I am supported by a strong and dynamic team, who have been fundamental in building Ilkley Brewery’s reputation, and will continue to play an important role in our future growth. We have flourished in the last year, growing the brewery to be in the top 15% of Independent British breweries by production. We can now move forward together with a target to be in the top 5% within the next two years.”

The investment in company infrastructure, including the creation of more jobs will be immediate, and orders have already been placed for brewing kit to increase production. Half Full Beer Co intends to give Ilkley Brewery the tools it requires to realise its potential, and compete in the vibrant and competitive arena that is the British beer industry.

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Robinsons Ploughs Profits Back Into Business As 6th Generation Plan For The Future

Robinsons Brewery, one of the leading independent brewers and pub operators in the North West with over 300 pubs, has reported annual results confirming its highest beer production in 15 years for the year to 31 December 2014; chiefly driven by TROOPER and Dizzy Blonde which have continued to deliver double digit growth.

Add to this a multi-million investment programme which will see almost 200 pubs / two thirds of their pub estate refurbished and the development of their new managed house business over the next 5 years, and it is clear that Cheshire family brewers Robinsons are planning for the future.

Against a backdrop of landmark developments – including the rebuild of their brew house, a new Visitor Centre, record investment in the pub estate, and the company wide corporate rebrand announced at the start of 2015 involving pub signage, logistics, merchandising, literature, website and beer brands – Robinsons are continuing their long-term tradition of ploughing their profits back into the business.

In provision of such significant and increased investment into all areas of the business, Robinsons’ annual operating profit for 2014 has reduced slightly from £1.3m to £1.0m; despite an increase in sales.

William Robinson, Managing Director (Pub Division), commented: “We remain committed to the development and enhancement of our core tenanted pub estate with amplified investment going into repairs as well as refurbishments, alongside the development of our new managed house business; taking four previously-tenanted pubs back under direct management plus the Visitor Centre which won a Gold Accolade in 2015 from Visit England. These are all part of our long term business strategy to remain a vertically integrated brewer and pub operator.”

“The strategic plan required a significant additional investment in our pub estate to improve the long-term fortunes of our company. Therefore we plan to accelerate this spend over the coming years and invest over £23m in 179 schemes over the next 5 years and a similar amount in the maintenance of our pubs across the estate. So we can expect suppressed profit until at least the end of this period.”

The great thing about the investment the 6th generation are putting into the business is that it is facilitating new initiatives, strengthening the Robinsons brand and providing the time and facilities to make their pubs and beers some of the best in the industry.

Oliver Robinson, Managing Director (Beer Division), commented: “As I’m sure people have noticed, from initiatives such as TROOPER beer with Iron Maiden, our new ale Wizard, and some of the most unique refurbishments in our history, we are evolving. Our brew house investment in 2012 continues to give us greater production flexibility and this is being used to good effect in the development of an increasingly adventurous set of seasonal ales and our series of smaller batch bespoke beers; created in collaboration with our licensees. We are now in a great position to participate in the growing craft market whether that be in cask or keg.”

“Over the past two years, we’ve also been working hard to implement an ambitious growth plan for Free trade, Off Trade, Wholesale and Export – which appears to be paying off with 2015 currently outperforming 2014. We are investing in our people (we appointed Ben Robinson as Head of Sales at the end of 2014), premiumising our portfolio, and demonstrating to our partners that we offer more than just great beer through incentives such as our ‘1838 Club’ which supports and actively rewards customers for trading with us.”

“With an established reputation, a first class collection of beers and pubs, an ability to innovate and respond to consumer demands, and equipment that provides unbeatable flexibility to deliver what the market requires… we are committed and prepared for many more generations of family brewing and pub ownership and these recent investments should be seen as a sign of that.”

For more information on Robinsons Brewery please visit: www.robinsonsbrewery.com, like on Facebook: www.facebook.com/robinsonsbrewery or follow on twitter – @robbiesbrewery

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Brighton considers banning smoking outside restaurants and pubs

By Sophie Witts, 27-Jul-2015

Smoking outside restaurants, cafes and pubs in Brighton and Hove could be banned under plans being considered by the council.



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