The new site is just 600 metres from the brewery’s original archway home, and will allow Brixton to increase production capacity from 8,000 litres a week (about 14,000 pints) to 17,500 litres a week (about 30,000 pints) with potential to brew up to 60,000 litres a week (about 100,000 pints).
The brewhouse, supplied and installed by UK company Gravity Systems, is a three-vessel, steam-fired kit, and enables more automatic monitoring over production processes. Brixton has also installed a new canning line which can produce 6,000 cans an hour.
Speaking about the new brewery, senior brewer Cam Mitchell said: “As the new kit is five times bigger, we can't do as much of it by sight and instinct as we do in the arch. We need a few toys to help us out with accuracy and measurements to make sure we get the most out of our ingredients.
“The best bit is obviously the automatic mashtun rake. No more climbing into the hot mashtun to shovel out bags of heavy, wet grain at the end of a brew. It's the dream!”
Our view – A statement of intent
Although most eyes are still keenly focused on another potential investment rumoured to be taking place in north London, the construction of a 15,000 sq ft brewery site and installation of a new state-of-the-art brewhouse just over six months after taking a minority stake in the Brixton business is a serious signal of intent from Heineken.
This rapid expansion increases Brixton’s capacity nearly tenfold, up to around 30,000hl a year, and instantly makes it one of the biggest players on the London beer scene. The brewery has leapfrogged the likes of Five Points and Brew By Numbers, but remains smaller than Beavertown, Fourpure and Camden.
The brewery’s tie-up with Heineken also has a potentially significant advantage of a guaranteed route to market – if the Dutch brewing giant wishes to it could secure listings for Brixton in many of it’s 3,000-strong portfolio of UK pubs. Heineken-owned brewery Lagunitas is a regular fixture in Star Pubs & Bars sites, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Brixton become the de facto ‘UK craft’ offering in the same way.
'Once in a generation'
Brixton Brewery was founded by Jez and Libby Galaun, Mike Ross and Xochitl Benjamin in 2013. In November 2017, it was announced that global brewing giant Heineken had taken a 49% stake in the south London brewery.
In an interview with The Morning Advertiser in November 2017, Jez Galaun described the deal as a “once in a generation opportunity” to expand and get Brixton Brewery beer into more UK pubs.
“First and foremost we are looking to have our beer on tap in more places,” he said. “As a small brewery we have always focused on small pack, and that has allowed us to grow our brand, but I'd like to get our beer in more pubs.
“When we started the brewery we loved going to pubs. We met as founders over a pint; that is how we bonded. We love that social and human interaction you get in a pub. So that's what we will be focusing on initially.”