Anniversary plans are brewing at Peak District beer firm

Simon Webster and Rob Lovatt
Simon Webster and Rob Lovatt

The past decade has seen an enormous change in the beer industry - with Thornbridge Brewery one of the most notable success stories.

The Peak District firm celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, a milestone in a journey which started out in a modest, 10-barrel brewhouse in the grounds of Thornbridge Hall.

Soon its beers began attracting the attention of award panels, and demand grew rapidly, leading to the opening of a larger brewery in Bakewell in 2009, capable of producing five million pints a year.

Now its drinks are exported to 33 countries, and the Thornbridge name is over the door of a dozen pubs around Sheffield, from The Hallamshire House at Commonside to the Bath Hotel in the city centre.

This year a £400,000 investment in equipment at the brewery will increase capacity by 40 per cent, adding two million pints to production, and by the end of the year the company is set to employ nearly 40 people.

A number of other plans are also being made to celebrate the 10th anniversary, starting with the launch this month of Jaipur X - a special, 10 per cent version of the flagship Jaipur ale.

Also, from July 3 to 5, there will be the second edition of the Great Peak Weekender, Thornbridge’s own beer festival, which promises to be on a bigger scale than last year’s first event.

“The beer sector has changed dramatically in the past decade,” said chief operations officer Simon Webster.

“The new wave of breweries has instilled life into what had become a moribund sector. Our success has been seen by many as a catalyst for many new breweries and we like to think we have inspired others to join the revolution in beer we are seeing in the UK.”

He added: “It’s been a fantastic 10 years for us. From the beginning we had a simple approach which we encapsulated in our ‘Innovation, Passion, Knowledge’ strapline, and that has focused us on making the best beer we could and delighting customers wherever possible.”

Head brewer Rob Lovatt said his team is handed free rein by bosses to put their ideas into practice.

“We’re given full licence to brew styles of beer that excite the brewers and the tools to make these the best quality,” he said.

Staff are already hard at work producing new beers for the company’s 10th birthday.

“There will be new beers of course, and some old favourites, but always with quality to the fore,” said Rob.