The brewer has invested £750,000 on the 30 barrel microbrewery, which it will use to brew small batch and limited edition experimental brews in a bid to grab a slice of the growing craft beer market.
The move was driven by a year-long £100,000 consumer research project that revealed drinkers saw existing Greene King beers as “traditional craft” beers and that there was a huge demand for more “speciality craft” beers, defined as brands with a more contemporary edge such as Goose Island, Brewdog and Dark Star.
Five new beers – the 7.2% Double Hop Monster IPA, Suffolk Porter, St Edmunds Anniversary Ale, Twisted Thistle and Nobel, a lager – were unveiled at the launch day, and three of the brewer’s existing brews will also be brought under the new brand, Yardbird, Strong Suffolk Ale and St Edmund.
Some 60 others are already in the pipeline, including a gluten-free beer made from sorghum and “Rye PA” made with rye. Head brewer John Bexon also said he was hoping to revive some forgotten recipes from the brewery’s archives.
Supporting craft beer
“The St Edmunds Brewhouse will allow us to be more flexible in our approach to brewing than ever before and provide a great innovation platform from which we can continue to develop great beers,” said Chris Houlton, MD brewing and brands.
The company has developed a number of support tools to help licensees capitalise on the new brews and the craft category, including menus, a beer styles wheel and a new online training tool, due to be launched in January.
In September Greene King Chief Executive Rooney Anand was profiled in Publican's Morning Advertiser Big Interview, talking about the importance of the company's brewing heritage.