The family brewer announced today (6 March) it had submitted a planning application to the local council to build the brewery, a visitor centre and an on-site pub and event space, The Morning Advertiser can reveal.
The Fairhill brewery will be built just off the A6 in Bedford, giving the company access to major roads to better supply its leased, tenanted and managed house estates in England and France.
“As a business, Bedford has been our home for over 140 years and many members of the Wells family have lived and grown up here,” says Charles Wells commercial director Peter Wells.
A stand-out pub company
He continued: “Building this brewery in our home town maintains our heritage but gives us an opportunity to further develop our story and create exciting, new beers and experiences that will continue to support our loyal Pub Partners and their customers.”
The location of the new brewery is symbolic of the direction the company wants to head, according to Wells. “The focus now is to become a stand-out pub company,” he said.
“While we remain a brewing family, our entire business focus is about supporting our pubs, whether they are part of our leased and tenanted estate or our growing managed estates in the UK and France.”
Charles Wells will use the brewery to push its heritage and smaller production methods. “It will be a shining example of how traditional brewers need to turn the evolution of the brewing industry to their advantage, listening to their Pub Partners to create beers that attract customers from everywhere,” said Wells.
186 leased pubs
Charles Wells, which owns 186 leased and tenanted pubs, as well as 23 managed houses across its Pizza, Pots and Pints and Apostrophe brands, also pumped £3.4m into its estate last year and plans to invest £2.5m this year.
In 2017, Charles Wells sold its brewery, along with brands including Bombardier, Courage and McEwan’s, as well as the UK distribution rights for Kirin Lager, Estrella Damm, Erdinger and Founders to Marston’s.
However, it kept its pub chain and brands including Charlie Wells and John Bull.
Read an exclusive interview with Peter Wells in the 12 March issue of The Morning Advertiser by subscribing.