Acorn Brewery in expansion plans

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ACCLAIMED Acorn Brewery is expanding as demand spirals for its award-winning cask-conditioned ales.

Famous for its traditional Acorn Barnsley Bitter brew (a firm Fylde coast real ale favourite), 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 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 locally through Tesco and Asda.

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 50 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, lifelong Blackpool Football Club supporter 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 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.

“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.”