Suffolk firm set to produce 1,000th brew

AN award-winning brewery based at an ancient site in north Suffolk will produce its 1,000th brew today – ready to be shipped to America where fans of its beers are on the rise.

By Sarah Chambers

AN award-winning brewery based at an ancient site in north Suffolk will produce its 1,000th brew today – ready to be shipped to America where fans of its beers are on the rise.

St Peter's Brewery produced its first brew six years ago in 1996 – and now brews five times the quantity of beers it did then.

Its 1,000th brew will be its award-winning Organic Ale, which is a Soil Association gold medal winner. It will be bottled in the brewery's distinctive oval bottles and shipped to the US, where sales of the St Peter's beers are booming.

The brewery at St Peter's Hall, St Peter South Elmham, near Bungay, produces 90% bottled ale and about half its production is exported, mainly to the US, Canada, Scandinavia and Japan.

"I am really pleased that our hand-crafted Suffolk ales delight beer enthusiasts all around the world," said head brewer Mark Slater.

Most Read

"We have been running at full capacity ever since we opened the brewery. Every time a fermentation tank is emptied we brew again immediately.

"Given that we have expanded our brewing capacity five-fold since 1996, we now have to brew at least once every day. Unlike most British breweries we are running at 100% capacity and are planning another expansion later this year."

John Murphy, chairman of the brewery, said the organic ale had benefited from a growth in the market, particularly in the US.

"St Peter's Brewery is one of the most innovative small breweries around. We make a range of highly distinctive beers and our attractive packaging, in particular our lovely oval bottle, has won design awards around the world.

"Such products as Organic Ale are proving a great success. In the US, for example, the organic movement is taking off with a vengeance and the popularity of our Organic Ale is growing by the day.

"Fortunately the substantial capacity increases we have funded in 2002 and our spanking new bottling line leave us well placed to take advantage of this major market opportunity."

St Peter's Hall dates from the 11th or 12th Century. The brewery there was built in the first half of 1996 to the design of the head brewer.

Its beers are real ales brewed using local Suffolk malts and Kentish hops. Water is drawn from the brewery's own source within a chalk layer below St Peter's Hall. As well as traditional beers, it also produces some more unusual ones such as honey power and fruit beer.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter