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It only feels like 5 mins ago when we were last typing a blog post about the expansion of the brewery. But, it was actually almost 10 months ago!! I guess time flies when you’re having fun. Well here we go again then, as we are about to give you a brief glimpse into our exciting and ambitious plans for the 2018!
Our previous expansion saw us upping our brewery capacity and as a result taking on additional space in the ground floor of the unit adjacent to the brewery. This unit happened to be a former Maltings building, which we thought was pretty fitting at the time. It’s not very often you find a building which you think is perfect to try and make your pipe dream a reality, but it’s happened twice to us now.
We still can’t believe our brewery was vacant for several years before we took over. So things like this don’t usually happen again, so imagine our excitement, when late last year, whilst taking in the delights of Indyman, we got a phone call to let us know there was a possibility that the rest of the Maltings building was about to become available.
We jumped at the opportunity as we are currently struggling for space in the brewery. It never ceases to amaze us just how much space we use on racking & canning days and you’d be surprised at how easy it is to fill over 500m2 in a brewery, with empty casks, bar equipment, plumbing fittings and just about everything including a few kitchen sinks! So we have now taken on an additional 750m2 of space in the former Maltings building to expand into.
So we have quite a few stages of expansion we are about to embark upon, some of which we will have to submit for planning approval, so will likely take a few months yet. So not necessarily in order of priority we are aiming to:
So without even going into the detail, you can probably already guess it’s quite a lot of work and will be keeping us on our toes as well as providing the opportunity to grow, what we feel is an awesome team.
If you managed to join us down the brewery last year for one of our events, you are probably already aware of a cool space we have adjoining the Tap Room. The ground floor of the Maltings building has an entrance directly into the Tap Room, which we have used as a chill out lounge, serving additional beers and Hoptails. We love this room, as it is very different to the main Tap Room, and due to the insanely thick brick walls is pretty much a soundproof bunker. However the room is actually used for storage most of the year. And we can only use it a few times a year with special temporary event notices. So we are looking to move the storage upstairs in the Maltings and will be applying for planning permission to use the room regularly as an overspill for the Tap Room, or for private hire & events. We hope to have a range our beer hoptails available permanently as part of the expansion.
When we walked around the Maltings building for the first time, we saw an opportunity to do more of what we love! i.e bringing together amazingly talented street food vendors and working with them to create beer and food combinations that will blow your mind. We have always had great vendors down whenever we hold events at the brewery, but the weather can sometimes interfere, when you have to serve from the street! So, we want to create something really different for York and make a large hall, where you can grab some fresh and funky street food and wash it down with a vast selection of the best beers in the country.
So we are really excited to be working with our great pal, Street Cleaver, to try and bring something really unique to the city. Street Cleaver will be a resident vendor at the new food hall and will be working his culinary magic on a daily basis. We will then have guest vendors with pop ups in the hall, serving something different, new & exciting.
We’ve worked pretty hard since we started the brewery to push the boundaries and try and create innovative and interesting beers, and have released over 50 beers to date. We want to do even more of this, so want to install a pilot brewery in the new Food Hall. A pilot brewery is a small-scale replica of our full-scale kit, allowing us to produce a much smaller batch, but to the same standard as a regular batch of beer. This will allow us to continue to innovate & experiment, creating unique beers, that will at least initially be exclusive to the Food Hall & Tap Room. Those beers that receive the most favourable feedback will then be produced on the full-scale kit for a wider release.
The new kit will also allow us to start holding brewing classes or events to work with the local home brewing scene, or to teach people something new and interesting!
To make the food hall really unique and to offer the best opportunity to showcase food & beer at its best, we aim to offer the widest range of draught beer in York.
So with a much larger space, we plan on ramping up our events in 2018. Hosting beer festivals across multiple floors and rooms will mean everyone can stay dry & warm. It also means we will have the capacity to host even more customers and even more breweries. The first event we will be hosting in the new space will be our 2nd birthday party 13th – 14th April, so watch this space for details.
We are pretty flattered that people love the space we have created at Brew York and think it’s awesome that people want to host their wedding receptions here. We also have lots of requests for birthday parties, corporate entertaining, training space etc. But, we are well aware that we are a little off the beaten track, and if you’ve headed out of your way to visit us, the last thing we want is for it to be closed for a private event. So we have turned away countless requests since we opened and have always wanted to find a way to accommodate something.
So although our plan is to use the top floor of the Maltings building for general storage, we are going to have to keep it organised and tidy as we also want to use the amazing space for private hire events.
We currently brew around 200 casks (or 260 kegs) of beer a week. Once the beer has been racked into cask, we then hold it on site in our cold storage until it has had enough time to condition in cask. This can take anywhere between 5 – 14 days, so we usually have around 300 casks on site at various stages of the cycle waiting for delivery on to the customer. This takes up a lot of space! If we want to increase our production at all, then we are going to need a larger cask beer cold store. Thankfully, we planned ahead for this and kept enough space to extend our existing store when the time arose. The time is now, but unfortunately we already use the expansion space to store all sorts of other items now.
So stage 1 is to create a sundry storage area in the Maltings building to relocate the non brewing essentials, freeing up much needed space in the brewery.
We are also investing in our keg & can cold store, to install a chiller capable of holding the room at around 5C, which will ensure our beer keeps in the best condition possible.
We’ve invested a lot of time & money this last year trying to drive the quality & consistency of our beer. We are about to have our SALSA audit (Certified standard for safe beer manufacturing) and have improved a lot of our procedures as part of this process. And we are always striving to keep improving, so we are going to relocate our admin offices from the existing brewery to the Maltings building. We are then going to convert the former offices into a Lab and staff changing facility.
Having our own lab on site, will also allow us to move towards our own house strain of yeast along with numerous other benefits. We are also investing in equipment to monitor things like carbonation levels for can & keg beer, and dissolved oxygen pick up in tank and cans. All of this will reduce our reliance on external parties and help drive the best results every time.
We have a large section of the brewery, which is under utilised, to give you an idea of the scale; it is the mirror image of our Tap Room. This is where we are at our worst for hoarding and filling the space. We have mobile bar equipment, pallets full of empty boxes, chilling system pipework and all sorts of other items taking up valuable real estate. We are going to move all of the items (well the ones that are worth keeping) into the Maltings building and have another brewery floor installed on that side of the building.
This bunded area will be used for cask & keg washing as well as racking beer into cask, keg or can. It will also give us expansion space for the future (more on this later).
Sorry, but there are too many canning puns to ignore. We love canned beer! We moved across to cans as soon as we had the capability to do it in-house and have championed it ever since. It was pretty cool, when at the SIBA North East beer awards last year, our friends at Roosters won overall Gold for small pack beer, with their cans of 24/7, and we took overall silver for our cans of Tonkoko. The judging is blind tasting, so the panel don’t know if they are drinking can or bottle, so hopefully that will prove to any doubters out there that canned beer tastes great.
We currently use mobile canning for our beer, which has enabled us to get a great selection of beer throughout the country relatively quickly. However, it does have some challenges! The biggest one of which is having to work around someone else’s schedule. There have been many occasions last year, when we had a product ready which we really wanted to put into can, but couldn’t get a canning window, so had to pass on the opportunity in order to get our tanks back for the next brew. Goose Willis, our deliciously tart Gooseberry Fool Sour produced in collaboration with Brewdog York was our biggest regret of not getting canned. So this, along with lots of other benefits we could write a whole blog about, mean we really want our own canning line on site. Later on in 2018 we therefor plan to install our own machine in the new packaging area. Which would mean even more new and interesting beer in cans and Q&A improvements from having our own line.
Our brewery location is pretty cool. Its rare to find a city centre location, let alone one with such headroom. We always knew we should grow up, by which we mean the brewery equipment could get taller to increase capacity. That’s why we have 2 big 30bbl FVS already. But we have the headspace to install a 30bbl brew house in the future. And the space is there to quadruple our current production. So later in the year we will be installing a new cooling solution for our fermenters, with the aim to add a further 200HL (c35,000 pints) capacity by year end with lots of spare capacity to add extra tanks as and when we need them.
That’s just a brief overview of what we have planned. There is a lot more we could share with you, but as you can imagine, given all of that above, we’ve got a lot of other things to be working on! We have a long way to go yet, but we’re super excited about 2018 and the next stage of the Brew York (R)evolution and hope you will be too! The first hurdle is getting through planning, so if you like the sound of what you’ve just read and want to support us on our journey, please feel free to support our planning application. Planning Portal
If you’re interested in doing even more to help us on our journey, how about joining the (R)evolution of Brew York? Over the next few weeks we will be releasing some more information about how you can help fund the (R)evolution in return for some amazing rewards (double your investment to spend in the Tap Room/Food Hall anyone?)!
Keep checking back for further exciting news soon!
Wayne, Lee and the Brew York Team