Brewery swaps sale plan for £3m expansion
Booming global demand has prompted directors at St Peter’s to shelve plans to sell the brewery and replace them with a £3m expansion strategy.St Peter’s Brewery in Bungay, Suffolk is now looking at potential locations for a new brewery, after reaching full capacity on its 13th century rural site as the firm’s popular beers are sold to suppliers across 22 countries.
“St Peter’s beers are proving so phenomenally popular, not just across the UK but worldwide,” says managing director Colin Cordy.
“Our big challenge though is to keep meeting that demand and the next natural step is to build a completely new brewery. The construction process would take up to a year and our aim is to start production at the new site about two-and-a-half to three years from now.”
St Peter’s was put up for sale with a £20 million price tag in summer 2005 but taken off the market a few months later when directors decided to continue running the business independently.
Instead, plans were unveiled to pump £250,000 into the venture to boost production capacity. “We are now in talks with Barclays about a considerable element of funding towards the new brewery” says Cordy.
Bosses want it to stay in the Waveney area and hope to start construction within the next two years.
Founded in 1996 by John Murphy, the company is based in St Peter’s Hall, a half-moated manor house surrounded by converted outbuildings. The site is expected to be retained as part of the expansion and the current brewery could be used for making cask ales and visitor demonstrations.
The operation can produce just under 60,000 pints a week. The new brewery will initially be able to produce three times as much beer – with scope for further expansion to six times the quantity.
Cordy added: “We’ve had a really strong 2006/7 in the UK. Waitrose has extended our Organic Best Bitter to national availability and is now selling Golden Ale in its top 116 stores,” says Mr Cordy.
“Globally, our top export countries are the US – which has seen massive growth – Canada, Russia, Sweden and Finland. This year we are starting to export to Mexico, Estonia and Ukraine.”