Sunday, 15 March 2009

Cumbrian Beer

A discussion on Tandlemans blog saw my brewery accused of being no threat to the likes of Marstons. Of course, I was a little bit miffed at what appears to be a very truthful comment. The truth can be quite hurtful sometimes. It's true though that my brewery probably produces the second smallest output in Cumbria beaten only by Abraham Thompson in the insignificance stakes. But then you see I'm not trying to compete with Marstons and their unexciting variation-on-a-theme seasonals, despite them being well produced.

It is my belief though that the combined output of Cumbrian breweries, leaving out Jennings, is big enough to worry even Marstons. I thought I might have a guesstimate of the total brewing capacity of Cumbria, just to illustrate the point. The figures here would no doubt fail the detailed scrutiny of Ron, but I'm not as patient with detail as he clearly is. His tables are more colourful as well. The figures are based on quick research from the GBG, Internet and my own knowledge. I believe it to be a fair estimate, but would need more time to be accurate.

It is also worth noting that this is an estimate of maximum capacity per week, not achieved output. My output for instance, as an average over the year, is about a quarter of maximum.

Jennings at Cockermouth have a brew length of around 160 barrels. The total brew capacity of all the other Cumbrian breweries are significant compared to the Marstons breweries.

It's nice to be a small brewer in Cumbria. There is a level of cooperation between some of the breweries that is nice. I'd like to see a greater level of cooperation but it would seem that coordinating such cooperation is akin to herding cats. I believe individual breweries may not be a threat but combined and coordinated the total is greater than the sum of the parts.

If any brewery would like to confirm their true capacity then I am only too happy to update here. I understand that such information might be considered commercially sensitive, but perhaps this sort of information might help dispel the "Cupboard Brewing" myth.

5 comments:

Woolpack Dave said...

Update: a tip off from my sources saw a revision of Ulverston brewery capacity from 20 to 10 brls per week.

Thanks for that, any more? It would be nice to make it accurate.

Shelagh said...

Our capacity is 30 BBL per week at present, Dave - and Cumbrian breweries are obviously posing a threat to Marston's sales. Landlords we supply have been visited by their local Marston's sales rep, who complained to his boss in an email which Marston's copied to me -
"Recently there has been a spate of micro brewer products using our equipment. We need to nip this in the bud & charge the relevant micro for use of our equipment."

So much for encouraging local brews!

Woolpack Dave said...

Thanks Shelagh, I'll update accordingly.

I think dispense equipment costs are a problem for smaller brewers and the pubs that want to use their beers. I now look after my own but there is a very helpful chap who can provide the service very cost effectively. If anyone needs help in that area I can advise.

I've just updated Stringers capacity as well.

Leigh said...

nice post - and interesting for people like me to hear the business from the other side of the bar.

Ron Pattinson said...

I hadn't realised there were so many breweries in Cumbria. Loved the table, BTW. You know my soft spot for lots of numbers.

I make the annual capacity over 20,000 barrels. A not insignificant amount.