Dorset-based family brewer Hall & Woodhouse will launch its first bottles in 33cl format in 2017.
While its existing Badger Ales range will remain in 50cl, head brewer Toby Heasman confirmed three new beers would be brewed for the new format. 'The beer scene is more exciting than it has ever been,' Heasman told Imbibe. 'And there is a huge opportunity for us to tap into this with a variety of different beer styles.'
Following the successful release of its fragrantly hoppy pale ale Leaping Legend into keg within its pub estate, Heasman foresees 'more keg opportunities' over the coming year, particularly for those beers where the hop character 'lends itself well' to this manner of dispense.
While the Badger Ales range has not previously appeared in keg, the brewery brewed Hofbräu lager under contract for a number of decades. The kegging line in the new brewhouse, now fully commissioned, has greater flexibility, allowing both different size kegs and also keykeg options.
Currently, Hall & Woodhouse beers are sold in the on-trade solely within its estate of around 200 pubs. While there are no immediate plans to change this arrangement, ‘There is a possibility that we might expand beyond [our estate],' Hall & Woodhouse chair, Mark Woodhouse, told Imbibe. Woodhouse explained that this would begin within its southern 'heartland', and be dependant on ensuring that quality of dispense met the brewery’s existing high standards.
Looking further ahead, the brewery is looking to grow the number of managed houses over the next five years from 50 to 70, said Woodhouse.
2016 was the first full year of operation for the new Hall & Woodhouse brewhouse and packaging hall. The £20m investment takes the brewing capacity to 130,000 hl.
To celebrate, the brewery hosted a dinner, the first to showcase a vertical of the brewery’s Special Edition beers. Named after legendary Dorset monsters, these limited edition beers are brewed once a year to mark the brewery’s Founder’s Day in June. The dinner included accomplished food pairings created by Jez Barfoot at The Tickled Pig and H&W Beer Sommelier Nikki Rowe.