South Yorkshire’s acclaimed Acorn Brewery is expanding as demand spirals for its award winning cask-conditioned ales.
Famous for its traditional Acorn Barnsley Bitter brew, the Wombwell brewer has reported a sales spike of 13 per cent over the past year.
Now a £60,000 investment has been made which takes production capacity to 140 brewer’s barrels or more than 40,000 pints a week.* It includes new ICS cooling equipment, two new 20-barrel conditioning tanks from Moeschle (UK) and 200 stainless steel casks supplied by Kammack of Burton-upon-Trent.
This latest expansion follows investment last year in fermenting and cold store equipment to develop off-trade sales. The bottled range now sells through Tesco, Waitrose, Asda, Yorkshire’s Rhythm & Booze chain, while Sainsbury’s recently agreed to roll out Acorn Blonde to Yorkshire stores. Acorn also directly delivers to more than 400 pubs across the North and supplies leading UK wholesalers and pub companies.
In a key move last summer, Acorn invested in reopening the historic Old No 7 pub in Barnsley as the ‘brewery tap’. This was voted Barnsley Pub of the Year by Camra (Campaign for Real Ale) in April to further boost the brewery profile locally.
Acorn beers have won more than fifty awards since 2003; in 2006 Acorn Barnsley Bitter (3.8%abv) claimed silver in its class in the Champion Beer of Britain contest at the Camra (Campaign for Real Ale) Great British Beer Festival and has been a finalist four times, including this year.
Proprietor and head brewer Dave Hughes said: “We are growing business for both cask and bottles ales despite the dire economic climate. Our investment in the Old No 7 in central Barnsley has acted as a shop window locally. We now sell much more in south Yorkshire as licensees, and their customers, increasingly appreciate the broad choice of our range – from our moderate strength Barnsley Bitter to our premium Gorlovka Imperial Stout and IPAs.
“These local sales are crucial, reducing our food miles and costs, so we support licensees with strong point of sale material and free Meet the Brewer evenings. In general the demand for cask ale is growing as younger beer enthusiasts and females increasingly reject global brands and look for true provenance. We are determined to grow with that demand.” **
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Note to editors:
Acorn was launched in 2003 by former chef Dave Hughes and his wife Judi. Production of Barnsley Bitter began on 4th July, using the same yeast strain as the original Barnsley Brewery of the 1850′s. This is now integral to the distinctive Yorkshire character of all Acorn brands which now include Barnsley Gold, Old Moor Porter, Sovereign,, Acorn Blonde, Yorkshire Pride and Gorlovka Imperial Stout which took a top accolade at the Camra National Winter Ales Festival in January 2012.
In 2007, with rising sales and an expanding brands portfolio, a major investment moved the brewery into a bespoke 20-barrel-plant on Aldham Industrial Estate, doubling production capacity.
* A brewer’s barrel is 36 gallons or 288 pints.
** Acorn’s success reflects the burgeoning market for craft cask-conditioned ale as discerning beer drinkers snub global brands. The industry backed annual Cask Report (www.caskreport.co.uk) points to the growing following for cask among young people, females and the more affluent – discrediting the ‘cloth cap’ image – as people choose craft beers with real provenance.
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