A YORK-based brewery has announced a £1.5million expansion investment as it secures a new site and creates 16 new jobs.

Brew York's team is pressing on with ambitious plans following a challenging period of trading, with the addition of a 13,000 sq ft unit at Handley Park in Osbaldwick, York, to its portfolio.

The move will help meet growing demand, both domestically and internationally.

The new site will house the main brewery, immediately increasing production capacity from 880,000 pints a year at the current Walmgate site to almost four million pints a year - with scope to comfortably double that again should demand increase further.

Work began on the unit shortly after the keys were collected on September 1, with full operations expected to start at Handley Park from December at the latest.

Founded in 2015, Brew York had seen year-on-year growth following regular reinvestment of profits with exports to nine international territories including China and Japan.

Despite the challenges presented in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, co-owner and head brewer Lee Grabham is optimistic about the latest move and says the significant investment in a new canning line just before the lockdown was key to the position the business is in today.

“The new canning line was a large investment earlier this year, but when lockdown struck it enabled us to pivot the business in a way we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise," he said.

"At a critical time when cans became the only saleable items we had, we gained the capability to can in one day what would previously have taken us a full week to package. It was a vital part of our continued operations, enabled us to retain our staff, and is a huge contributor to our ability to keep pressing forward with our plans to meet continued demand.”

The canning line and large vessels at the existing Walmgate site will move over to the new location but the original kit will remain for small scale special brewing projects. For the beer hall, taproom and shop it will be largely business as usual.

As part of the move to the new brewery site, there has been further investment in kit and technology to improve efficiency, quality and consistency. This includes a sizeable cold store, a grain silo and mill, as well as a reverse osmosis machine, which strips all mineral content from the water to create a ‘blank canvas’ for brewing. This will greatly improve general quality and enable the production of new styles of beer such as Pilsner which would not otherwise be possible using York’s mains water supply.

Co-founder and managing director Wayne Smith added: “The last few months have been difficult for everyone, and the brewing industry as a whole has been hit really hard.

"We feel fortunate that we are a flexible business and have been able to adapt quickly.

"We have a great team here at Brew York who have helped us deal with the change and put us in a strong position to continue to grow despite all the recent and continued challenges.

"Our customers have been really supportive, buying beer for direct deliveries and returning to our bars to show their support from a social distance! We can’t wait for 2021 and this exciting new chapter for Brew York.”