Sharp's Brewery

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Who are they? The brewer, based in Rock, Cornwall, celebrates its 10th birthday this year, and in its relatively short life has become a mainstay of...

Who are they? The brewer, based in Rock, Cornwall, celebrates its 10th birthday this year, and in its relatively short life has become a mainstay of brewing in the region. Bill Sharp set up the operation with an aim of producing beer of a higher quality than that available in the Cornish market at the time. "We use the best malt and barley from Cornwall when possible," said retail sales managerJames Nicholls. "But sometimes we have to go further afield because we have to maintain consistently high quality." Sharp's is now the largest brewer of cask-conditioned ales in south-west England, with a 30% share in the Cornish ale market. It produces 500 barrels a week on average, around 10 times the level it reached 12 months after it was founded. More than 600 free-trade accounts are serviced each week from the Rock brewery and its Bristol depot, and its ales are stocked by all the major pubcos in the region. Last October, Bill Sharp brought two investors into the company, Nick Baker and Joe Keohane, to help fund further expansion. Employees: 30 Main brands: Doom Bar bitter (4% abv) is the biggest seller of Sharp's six regular ales, accounting for around 65% of sales. Don't mention: Geography. Sharp's location has caused problems for the brewer in the past. Travel one and a half hours north, or half an hour south of the brewery and you meet the sea. Thankfully this problem has been eased since its Bristol depot was opened in January. Plans for the future: Sharp's has just received planning approval to expand the brewery at Rock. A 15,000sq ft extension will accommodate extra fermentation and conditioning vessels. There are also plans to extend the availability of its bottled beers Doom Bar, Eden Ale (4.4% abv) and Cornish Coaster (3.6%) across the south of England. Nicholls explained his aim: "Within the next 10 years we want to be within the top five real-ale producers in the south, supplying to the whole of the south.

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