The north-west-based brewer and pub operator’s relocation will include the installation of a new brewhouse and will mean all operations including brewing, cask racking, kegging, bottling lines, logistics and a new office facility will all be housed on one site – the first time since 1949.
Wider plans include the acquisition of new pubs to add to the brewery’s 23 managed houses and further investment in its 240 tenanted pubs.
Joint managing directors Oliver and William Robinson said the relocation of facilities and staff would be an industry-leading environment with all teams under one roof and give the business the ability to provide a more modern, flexible and greener brewing and packaging operations.
Work on the new cask racker and kegging line will commence in the summer of 2022 with the new brewhouse in operation late 2023 while the entire relocation is expected to be completed by 2025.
History dates back to 1838
Described by the brewery as a journey to create one of the best working environments in Stockport, the investment at Bredbury “will aim to express the company’s rich heritage and support much stronger working practices and collaborations between employees as befits an award-winning, growing business”.
Robinsons has owned the town centre Unicorn Brewery since William Robinson acquired the Unicorn Inn in 1838 and acknowledged it had been a difficult decision.
The Robinsons said: “It will be a wrench. The business has a long history in the town centre and we are very respectful of the company's role in the Lower Hillgate area. But the economic and logistical limitations of the site were impossible to ignore. Moving everything under one roof gives us the ability to provide a more modern, flexible and greener brewing and packaging operation, while reflecting the company’s heritage.”
On the current brewery location, Oliver Robinson said: “In time the site will be sold, most likely for redevelopment. No progress has been made yet, but it will be going to market when it’s appropriate to do so. This is an opportunity for further regeneration of the historic town centre.”
The Cheshire business said it has been working collaboratively with Stockport Council to look at the opportunity that freeing up the present brewery site would provide for further regeneration of the historic town centre.
Employee numbers expected to rise
The brewery confirmed there were no compulsory job losses envisaged and will increase employment in coming years through its ongoing pub investment and expansion strategy.
Robinsons is currently working on proposals to reopen the Bull’s Head in Stockport’s Market Square later this year, after substantial renovations, and remains committed to supporting its town centre pub communities.
Leader of Stockport Council, Elise Wilson, said: “It is great to see Robinsons investing in Stockport and really good news for jobs within the borough. We look forward to planning for the future of the town centre site.”
Oliver and William Robinson added: “The family is very proud of our heritage in Stockport and very respectful of it. This announcement demonstrates our commitment to writing a new chapter in our history, continuing to brew, deliver and package award-winning cask, keg and bottled beer from Stockport under 100% family ownership.”
Meanwhile, Robinsons famous Shire horses will also be relocated to a new home.