Brewer unveils £8m bottling plant

PUBS and brewing group Greene King yesterday unveiled a new £8million bottling plant - hailed as the most advanced of its kind in Europe. The new facility in Kempson Way, Bury St Edmunds - across town from the group's brewery and headquarters - represents Greene King's biggest single investment since the construction of its brew house in 1938.

PUBS and brewing group Greene King yesterday unveiled a new £8million bottling plant - hailed as the most advanced of its kind in Europe.

The new facility in Kempson Way, Bury St Edmunds - across town from the group's brewery and headquarters - represents Greene King's biggest single investment since the construction of its brew house in 1938.

It is the result of substantial growth in the company's bottled beer sales over the past five years, with Abbot Ale up by 9% and Old Speckled Hen by 14% over the last year alone.

Justin Adams, managing director of Greene King's brewing business, said: “This is another big investment in the town by a loyal local business.


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“Over the past 200 years, Greene King and Bury St Edmunds have become synonymous. As well as helping to put Bury St Edmunds on the map, we're securing and creating more jobs for local people.”

Greene King's original bottling operation in Bury closed in 1997 when it was decided that the cost of replacing outdated equipment was not justified by the relatively small proportion of output then sold in bottled form. Today, bottled beer has grown to account for 14% of sales.

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“The time was ripe for this investment,” added Mr Adams. “Having our own packing facilities means we can control the brewing process right from the raw ingredients through to the packaged product.

“And it's better for the environment. We estimate we will save 200,000 HGV miles a year, as beer will be bottled within just a mile of the brewery.”

The new bottling plant - which is capable of producing 25,000 bottles of beer an hour - has been named Old Speckled Hen Hall, in honour of the group's UK number one premium brand ale.

Yesterday's official opening was performed by Neil Coltman, sales manager for Greene King's supermarket and off-licence trade who during his career is estimated to have personally sold more than 12 million bottles of “Hen”.

“It was a great honour, and an even greater surprise, to be asked to open the hall,” said Mr Coltman. “I am now really looking forward to bringing some of our customers up here and showing them what we can do.”

For further details of Greene King's new bottling hall, see next Tuesday's BusinessEast supplement.

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