As it approaches its fourth birthday, Ilkley Brewery reveals its latest investment in fermentation and cask filling equipment that will enable it to meet growing demand from domestic and overseas customers.
In October, the West Yorkshire brewery took delivery of a 10 foot high, 8,000 litre fermentation vessel, along with a brand new cask filling machine that will give better quality control. Both pieces of equipment will help to increase production levels by 33%. In terms of beer, this means the brewery can now make up to 25,000 litres or 50,000 pints on a weekly basis.
The brewery’s latest round of investment follows another successful year of business. UK sales are 20% higher than at this time last year. In May, the brewery also shipped its first export order to America, a move that has boosted sales volumes even further.
Managing director, Chris Ives, identifies export as a key growth area for the business: “Feedback from the States following our initial shipment in May has been positive and we have just had confirmation of a second order which will head Stateside in early December.”
The brewery also exported to Sweden last month, sending 17,000 bottles of Holy Cow, a rich cranberry milk stout, to its Scandinavian shores. A further 17,000 bottles of the beer will be shipped in early December.
Chris adds: “Export is most definitely a strong sales area for us and we expect to see it develop steadily over the next 12 months to account for around 10 to 12% of sales by the end of 2014.
“That said, UK cask sales remain our biggest focus and we will continue to build on this by introducing new beers to the market next year and by recruiting more staff to meet production forecasts.”
Back in September, Ilkley Brewery added to its awards haul by winning five medals for four of its beers at the SIBA North East Beer Competition. Ilkley was the only brewery to take home three gold awards on the day, with one silver and one bronze medal completing the prestigious collection.
Images attached (high resolution versions available on request):
- All hands on deck (from L to R) Chris Ives operates the new cask filling machine while Nick Smith and Adam Scroggins keep the brewery at full capacity.
- Chris Ives, managing director of Ilkley Brewery, adds vibrant hops to the brew.
- Ilkley Brewery director, Richard Shelton, prepares another delivery.
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Notes to editors:
The Ilkley Brewery Co. Ltd. was founded in January 2009 and commenced brewing in May 2009. The now famous Mary Jane , the brewery’s flagship session beer was first brewed in August 2009 and won its first award in September of the same year.
A string of awards has followed with most of the beers now brewed by the brewery winning medals at beer competitions up and down the country.
In January 2011, Ilkley Brewery secured a debt and equity package from Glentrool Capital Partners LLP, who also provide corporate support to help grow the company. This enabled Ilkley Brewery to move from its premises on East Parade to a new 2,600 square foot brewery on Ashlands Road, Ilkley. A new 20 barrel brewing plant was installed allowing the brewery to initially produce 23,000 pints a week.
In October 2011, a new 30 barrel fermenter was acquired, taking production to over 32,000 pints a week. In March 2012, production capacity expanded again to close to 40,000 pints a week.
In January 2012, Ilkley Brewery was crowned one of Yorkshire’s most promising companies in the Government-backed Local Business Accelerators campaign, going onto win the national prize in August 2012 for being one of the country’s fastest growing and successful businesses.
April 2012 saw the launch of the Origins range, showcasing the best in beer styles and brewing. Medina and Siberia were the first collaboration brews with renowned beer writers, and The Chief, Victorian Pale Dinner Ale, Wit Marie, Green Goddess, and Holy Cow have since followed to much critical acclaim.
As of August 2012, bottles of Mary Jane, Ilkley Best, Ilkley Black and Ilkley Pale are available in Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Booths supermarkets across the north of England, as well as many restaurants nationally.
Additional SIBA medals for Ilkley Black and Lotus IPA were awarded in October 2012 (Bronze and Silver respectively).
November 2012 saw the first export sales to leave the UK.
In June 2013 the brewery won the London Craft Beer Battle with its new creation MaryJane IPA.