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Friday, 27 June 2014

Thwaites brewery on the move

A pint of Thwaites, in
case you'd forgotten
what it looks like.
Ain't no stopping Thwaites now - they're on the move. Or they will be as soon as they have finalised the purchase of the site they've chosen and built a new brewery, so it will be a while yet. Thwaites has been saying for some time that it is outgrowing its current site in Blackburn. Thwaites has four permanent beers - Original, Nutty Black, Lancaster Bomber and Wainwright - plus a range of seasonals, but it is Wainwright that has proved to be a runaway success and therefore may well have hastened the necessity to move.

The new site is in Mellor Brook on the A59, less than 5 miles north west of its present site, and will house the brewery, visitor centre and head office, while the distribution team will remain at the depot in Blackburn for the foreseeable future. Brewery management are hoping to drill a borehole at the new site so that they can tap into the same aquifer, which would help ensure that their beers would remain unchanged. I wish them good luck with that: I recall the old Higsons brewery moving production a matter of yards and inadvertently changing the taste of the beer. It was a while before they were able to sort it out.

In the past, a brewery moving would usually be regarded as bad news because it would often signal the end of the beers as you'd known them; the name would continue as a brand but there'd be no real effort made to match the original taste. Nowadays we have become used to microbreweries moving because of the need to expand, and I've little doubt that regionals such as Thwaites are acutely aware that the old high-handed approach to beer brands would not work today - at least, not if they wish to retain any real ale credibility. I'm certain they will do their best to match the beers as we now know them.

5 comments:

  1. Hasn't the old brewery stopped production and the beer contracted out? The Local CAMRA branch have been ripping the "LocALE" pumpclip talkers from Thwaties pubs because they heard this was the case.

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  2. It's good to see Thwaites demonstrating their commitment to this move when many (including myself) wondered whether they would end up "doing a Youngs".

    However, I don't think it's remotely true that they have outgrown their old brewery. I'm sure that, as with every other family brewer, they were brewing a lot more twenty or thirty years ago. The problem is more that the brew length in the old brewery limited their flexibility.

    Robinson's recently installed entirely new brewing kit in their existing brewery building. It gives them much more flexibility to brew low-volume beers, but the theoretical capacity of the brewery has been halved,

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  3. Yes, ML, they did say that "during this transitional phase" some brewing has been contracted out to Marstons as a temporary measure.

    CM: you may well be right.

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  4. i noticed the wainwright on special offer in Tesco and treated myself.

    It's a nice beer that for something that isn't lager. Often a good cheap bet in a pub.

    Here's hoping that it gets cheaper in Tesco.

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  5. £1.39 a bottle at Home Bargains in Edgeley :-)

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