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Brewery develops taste for success

Wellesbourne Airfield
Wellesbourne Airfield

This time last year Richard envisaged a steady start and brewed on average five casks of his Stratford Gold beer each week.

Come April things started to change and he found himself making even more beer to meet public demand.

By August the situation had gone, as he describes it, “crazy” and he found himself making 50 casks a week and had to install new equipment to cope.

His beer is now sold in 52 pubs across Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, the Cotswolds and the West Midlands.

There has also been a lot of interest in London. Sixty-five per cent of his custom is spread by word of mouth and repeat custom, and of course, beer festivals.

The brewery was the main sponsor at last year’s Stratford Beer Festival and continues to forge close ties with CAMRA.

In addition to the new brewing machinery, he has employed a full time member of staff, brought a new van which can carry 30 casks of beer and also purchased The Norman Knight pub in Whichford.

A team of five people — including Richard’s wife Stacey — are involved with the brewing side of the business and eight staff are employed at the pub. Richard has ambitious plans for The Norman Knight which means it will close temporarily for three weeks for renovation which includes incorporating bed and breakfast facilities with the addition of six bedrooms.

“It would be nice to own a pub in Stratford, that’s my next target. I believe it makes sense to own a pub in the town where the beer is made, although I do sell to a lot of pubs in town already,” Richard said.

Last Christmas Richard and the team launched a special beer for the festive season called Tipsy Turkey and he’s set his sights on a special beer to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death but hasn’t chosen a name for it yet, “I might open that out for a competition on social media,” Richard said.

Stratford-upon-Avon Brewery, in Warwick Road, uses natural resources in the production of its beer. The water used comes from a deep well on site with rain water from the nearby Welcombe Hills. It is filtered twice and tested in a treatment plant to ensure it’s fit for drinking.

The brewery itself is even powered by solar panels because Richard wants to make sure his product is natural and eco-friendly.

“I love making beer and it’s great to know that we are doing it naturally and not harming the planet, even the pigs on the farm, where the brewery is situated, are fed on malts and hops that have been part of the brewing process,” said Richard.

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