NEWS | Award-winning brewery completes expansion project

An award-winning, family-owned, brewery which was formed by a former Guinness brewer almost 35 years ago, has completed a major expansion project and created an additional five jobs following receipt of a £100k Marches Building Investment Grant, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Wye Valley Brewery has extended an existing building at its nine-acre site in Stoke Lacy to provide much-needed additional temperature-controlled storage space, as well as multi-level loading bays to allow the business to maximise the distribution of its products.

Vernon Amor, Managing Director, explains the firm’s growth since its humble beginnings in the outbuildings of a small rural pub:

“We’ve been producing cask, keg and bottle beers using quality, locally-sourced, ingredients since 1985 and now deliver more than 12 million pints a year to over 1,200 pubs, restaurants and bars throughout the West Midlands and South Wales.

“Having relocated to the former Symonds Cider site in 2001, a decade of investment and expansion followed. As the business continued to grow, a bottling line was included and a new brewhouse in 2013 allowed us to further increase capacity. However, it was clear that with double the amount of beer being produced, the brewery would need to create the capacity to both store and deliver more product.”

The grant received by Wye Valley Brewery has allowed the business to consolidate cask washing and filling operations, along with storage, into one building which has improved efficiency and safety. Vernon Amor continues:

“Our new building improves our efficiency and helps towards our ‘green’ goals. For the first time, our cask-washing, filling, storing and loading bays are under one roof and additional roof space has enabled us to increase our solar PV installations.”

Caroline Cattle, Grant Manager, adds:

“Wye Valley Brewery is a perfect example of the sort of business that benefits from the Marches Building Investment Grant. Following sustained growth, the business could identify further expansion and job creation opportunities that would only be possible via investment in physical expansion.”

Cllr Trish Marsh, Cabinet Member for Environment, Economy and Skills, concludes: “The council is delighted to have been able to allocate Marches Building Investment Grant funding to allow Wye Valley Brewery to continue to flourish.

“It is one of our priorities to support the growth of our local economy and it is wonderful to see a local business continue to expand, attract investment, create jobs, and provide the county with a range of delicious beverages!”

The £2.5m Marches Building Investment Grant is open to businesses across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin. It is open to all B2B businesses and awards grants of up to 45% of the total project costs (to a maximum £100,000) which are intended to cover conversion and alteration costs. They cannot be used towards purchasing property, equipment, or ‘excessive’ landscaping costs. Nor can they be made retrospectively.

Applicants to the Marches Building Investment Grant can be either owner-occupiers or tenants although for the latter, they must have a fixed term lease with at least six years unexpired. Residential property is exempt as are agricultural, horticultural, retail and hospitality buildings.

Herefordshire Council is the accountable body for the scheme. Full details are available from Caroline Cattle and Alison Rogers on mbig@herefordshire.gov.uk or by calling the Marches Growth Hub team on 0345 6000 727.