S&N joint venture unveils plans for new plant

By The PMA Team

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Alcoholic beverage Herefordshire

S&N joint venture unveils plans for new plant
Universal Beverages, the new joint venture between Scottish & Newcastle and Q Group, will create the largest cider facility of its type at new...

Universal Beverages, the new joint venture between Scottish & Newcastle and Q Group, will create the largest cider facility of its type at new premises in Ledbury, Herefordshire.

There will be three phases of development over the next 12 months. The first, on land adjacent to the Q-Group site at Orchard Park, Ledbury, will create a half million hectolitre bulk cider facility.

The second and third phases will both be on the newly acquired Premier Food site in Ledbury, where a new fruit processing mill with capacity to handle 15,000 tonnes of fruit per week will be built alongside a drinks facility including additional fermentation, storage and packaging lines. Universal Beverages have also agreed to continue suet production for Premier Foods, housed in a separate area of the existing site.

Work on phase one and two will begin immediately, where the majority of the development will take place in existing buildings. Timings for later stages will be subject to planning permission but it is intended to complete all work in 2008. "It represents an unprecedented level of investment for this area of Herefordshire and is fantastic news for Ledbury,"​ said David Hepworth, managing director of the new company.

The new facility will be the largest of its type in Western Europe and will work alongside the existing S&N cider making site at Bulmers in the centre of Hereford. Universal Beverages will be contracted to manage all fruit milling for Bulmers and will ensure that future growth can be accommodated under an initial 15 year contract.

In addition, the team at Universal Beverages are talking to a number of drinks producers across the UK in relation to contract milling, fermentation and packaging. "There is a huge opportunity for better use of assets for a number of producers. We are building a new facility with high levels of quality and efficiency which can provide replacement or additional production capacity on a flexible basis,"​ said Hepworth.

Whilst some equipment has already been delivered to Ledbury in readiness for the new development, the next stage will include moving a number of 800,000 litre vessels from Germany to Ledbury. This will include transporting the vessels down the Rhine, across the English Channel and then the difficult task of bringing them by road to Ledbury. "We have a number of challenges ahead but this one is certainly going to be one of the more complex,"​ added Hepworth.

Related topics Legislation Other operators

Property of the week


£ 60,000 - Leasehold

Busy location on coastal main road Extensively renovated detached public house Five trade areas (100)  Sizeable refurbished 4-5 bedroom accommodation Newly created beer garden (125) Established and popular business...

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more