New owners brew up plans for Redwell Brewery
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
The new owners of a craft brewery have laid out their plans for its future - including refreshing local drinkers' memories, getting their beer back into pubs and fulfilling its national contracts.
Redwell Brewery is under new management after being bought out of administration in a pre-pack deal earlier this month.
While fulfilling lucrative contracts for Tesco and Aldi will be high on the agenda, operations director Warren Thorp said the management wanted to reestablish the brand's visibility in Norfolk and Norwich before pushing ahead with wider growth plans.
The Trowse-based business has already doubled the size of its team, including appointing head brewer Belinda Jennings, who brings experience from large beer producers Adnams and Woodfordes.
Mr Thorp, who has worked as an engineering manager at several factories including Unilever's Colman's site and Aeropak Chemicals Products in Great Yarmouth, said the combination of his and Miss Jennings's skills, along with the passionate team already in place, gave the business great potential.
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He said: 'We think the potential is great. Up until 18 months ago the brewery produced more beer than it is now so we know the potential is there.
'If we can rebuild relationships with the local pubs and increase supermarket sales there is no reason we cannot be double the size it was before.'
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He added he wanted the beer to become synonymous with Norwich.
Miss Jennings said Mr Thorp's engineering expertise was unusual in a micro-brewery and would enable the business to be more efficient.
'I knew about Redwell from being a customer and I thought it was the most exciting thing that had happened in Norwich in beer for a while,' she said.
'We will continue with the great beers they do, and get the quality and consistency there but also develop new beer styles.'
The team hope to produce more specialist brews and will look to work with local firms as it has with Kofra coffee, with which it produced a stout.
Mr Thorp said he wanted to go back to the days of holding events at the brewery and being a part of the local community.
He said: 'There are lots of ways you could go with this business so it is an exciting time to be part of it.'
Background to administration
The company behind Redwell, Craft Brewing Company, went into administration on December 4 with insolvency firm McTear Williams & Wood stepping in.
After a bidding process a group of investors led by Warren Thorp and John Hughes were appointed owners.
Former director and founder Patrick Fisher has denied that Redwell needed to enter administration and said he was examining legal options regarding the pre-pack sale – which sees a company's assets sold but not its debts.
But Mr Thorp said the new team had engaged with many of the former suppliers and was hoping to rebuild relationships.
He said: 'Most suppliers have visited us already and in general they have been keen to work with us and we have been able to reassure them of our credentials.
'They have been very understanding and are willing to build the relationship.'