Brewery announces expansion plans after shift in sales trends

Joseph Manning
X The Business Desk

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Beartown Brewery, based in Congleton, looks to 2022 as the year of expansion with the brewery set to undertake an upscale of the site after sales reached higher levels than pre-pandemic.

Sales of the cask beer have skyrocketed with artisan beers being more in demand than ever by consumers.

With no sign of slowing down, the brewery is in talks to expand into the UK’s major retailers, with plans to increase the brewery site to brew a higher volume of liquid, permitting the production of more cans and bottles (small pack) on a daily basis.

Plans to expand the 6,000 sq ft site, will be revealed ahead of 2022, with the expansion including a range of brand new equipment to facilitate the increase in demand.

Before the pandemic, Beartown primarily sold its products to pubs in the local area of Cheshire, with 99% of the core range going straight to trade.

Since then, a heavy shift in sales was recorded, with 100% of the liquid in 2021 being produced for consumer bottles and cans.

Joseph Manning, managing director of Beartown Brewery, said: “There has been a huge shift in consumer behaviour following the impact of COVID through 2020, and 2021, suddenly the demand for cans and bottles to be enjoyed at home has skyrocketed.

“Before the pandemic, our sales came from on-trade. We can, however, see this has changed and as a business we need to adapt our operations to cope with the demand.”

He added: “We have some firm plans in place to enable our vision to become a reality and look forward to actioning our expansion in 2022.”

The family-owned brewery was founded in 1994, and blossomed in a world of cask beer, the pinnacle of craft brewing, and has, over the decades, added bottles, cans and kegs to the range.

Regardless of beer style or vessel, the one thing that runs through the core of all Beartown Brewery beers, is quality craftsmanship and flavours, it said.

The Beartown Brewery story began in 1632, when Congleton, a town in Cheshire, sold its bible to buy a bear. From that day forward Congleton was given a new name, Beartown

The business, which is owned by the Manning family, is committed to remaining a sustainable brewery and as they expand the site, the Manning’s are looking at new ways to be as sustainable as possible.

The brewery is adding solar panels to cover the electric requirements, EV charging points and a key focus on reducing packaging impact.

With a passion for brewing quality beer, Beartown blends traditional craft with a modern style. The brewery offers everything from traditional bitter and mild to craft keg and lager.

Key products in the range include the best selling and dessert inspired Creme Bearlee, the flagship pale ale, Kodiak, which is seen constantly flowing in the Beartown tap house and the super pale ale, ‘LIT’, aka Bearly Literate or Literate,

Most recently, the brewery collaborated with Manchester-based, Zymurgorium Gin, to create The Cub Gin, a fusion of brewery and distillery, where master distiller meets master brewer to produce the Bear and Bee love child, The Cub.