Speaking at the opening of the brewery’s new multi-million pound site in Warmley, Ryman expressed his belief that cask beer would always remain a part of the UK beer scene, and described the dispense method as “unique and irreplaceable”.
“Around 50% of our production is cask, and we are very ambitious about the growth that we as a brewery are seeing in the cask beer market,” he said. “Cask beer is always going to be there, I believe. There are lots of other styles of beer that are really great, and I have a very eclectic palate for beer, but I think there is still something about cask that is unique and irreplaceable.”
Ryman was in attendance for the opening ceremony of the new Hare Brewery, which was officially opened by James Staughton, CEO of parent company St Austell, and Tarquin McDonald, chief executive of Bath Rugby.
Speaking before the unveiling of a bronze hare statue to mark the occasion, Staughton paid tribute to Ryman’s work, both with St Austell and on the new brewery site in Bath.
“I trust in the creation of this spectacular new Hare Brewery we have delivered on our promise to protect the Bath Ales legacy,” he said. “Delivering a project of this size does not come without a great deal of blood, sweat and the odd tear.
“Our head brewer and brewing director Roger Ryman has worked miracles with St Austell’s beers, and under his tutelage I am confident that he is going to do the same for Bath Ales. His passion, knowledge and skill in the art of brewing see no boundaries, and I am very grateful to him for the significant part he has played in this project.”
Advanced brewing system
The new brewery has doubled Bath Ales’ previous brewing capacity, and will enable it to produce 50,000 brewers’ barrels of beer - close to 14.5m pints a year. The brewhouse was custom built by UK producers Musk, and can complete up to four brews in a 24-hour period.
A state-of-the-art bottling line capable of filling between 7,000 to 10,000 bottles an hour, a new hop aroma vessel and one of only three cross-flow filters in the country, make the new brewery one of the most advanced systems of its size in the UK.
The brewhouse has already been used to commission two new beers for the Bath Ales portfolio. Sulis, a 4.2% ABV English Lager with Huell Melon and Lemon Drop hops, was unveiled earlier this month, while a new 5% ABV West Coast IPA, Lansdown, has also been added in cask and bottle.
Bath Ales was purchased by St Austell in July 2016. The independent company, which is still family-owned, says it is committed to a long-term investment growth plan for the Bath Ales brand and business.