York brewery unveils £1.5m expansion, creating 16 jobs

Lee and Wayne at the new brewery unit at Osbaldwick. Photograph: Brew York
7 Sep 2020 @ 12.14 pm
| Business

Brew York today announced a £1.5million expansion as it secured a new brewery site, creating 16 jobs.

A 13,000 sq ft unit at Handley Park in Osbaldwick is the latest addition to the Brew York portfolio as the team announce they are pressing on with ambitious plans following a ‘challenging’ few months of trading.

The move will address escalating demand, both at home and abroad.

The new site will house the main brewery, immediately increasing production capacity from 880,000 pints a year at the current Walmgate site to close to four million pints a year – with scope to comfortably double that again should demand increase further.

Work began on the unit shortly after the keys were collected on 1st September, with full operations expected to commence at Handley Park from December at the latest.

Expanded into China and Japan

Lee (left) and Wayne in their Walmgate premises. Photograph: Gavin Aichison

Founded in 2015, Brew York had seen year-on-year growth following regular reinvestment of profits with exports to nine international territories including China and Japan.

Despite the challenges this year, co-owner Lee Grabham is optimistic about the latest move. The investment in a new canning line just prior to lockdown helped the business through the Covid emergency.

“The new canning line was a large investment earlier this year, but when lockdown struck it enabled us to pivot the business in a way we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise,” he said.

“At a critical time when cans became the only saleable items we had, we gained the capability to can in one day what would previously have taken us a full week.

“It was a vital part of our continued operations, enabled us to retain our staff, and is a huge contributor to our ability to keep pressing forward with our plans to meet continued demand.”

A fine pint. Photograph: Richard McDougall

The canning line and large vessels will move from Walmgate to the new location. The original kit will remain in town for small-scale special brewing projects. For the beer hall, taproom and shop it will be largely business as usual.

Co-founder Wayne Smith said the brewing industry generally has been hit hard over the last few months.

“We feel fortunate that we are a flexible business and have been able to adapt quickly. We have a great team here at Brew York who have helped us deal with the change and put us in a strong position to continue to grow despite all the recent and continued challenges.

“Our customers have been really supportive, buying beer for direct deliveries and returning to our bars to show their support from a social distance!”