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Beer X Commercial Achievement Award

As we return from a couple days in Liverpool at the UK’s biggest beer and brewing trade event, Beer X, we do so as the proud recipients of SIBA's ‘Commercial Achievement Award’… An award that recognises business successes within the industry

Since our beginning in 1985, we have seen impressive growth in production volumes, turnover and profit. Specifically, in the last 8 years we’ve achieved:

  • A 78% increase in total beer sales
  • A 110% increase in turnover, growing from £7.8m to £16.5m
  • And we’ve increased our profit considerably, despite significant increases in the last 3 years in energy and raw material costs

How did we achieve this? See our full award entry below...

“We are an independent family-owned brewery, offering consistently outstanding quality beers together with exceptional service. We are committed to supporting our staff, respecting our local community and minimising our environmental impact”.

At Wye Valley Brewery, this is the mission statement we live by. Since our beginning in 1985, we have seen sustainable, organic growth in production volumes, turnover and profit.

In 1985, we largely sold our cask ales in our own pub – The Barrels, Hereford. Today, our cask, keg, bottle and can beers, including flagship beers HPA, Butty Bach, 1985 and Nightjar, are served in more than 1,200 pubs and bars throughout the West Midlands and South Wales; all delivered on our fleet of 16 trucks and 3 vans, servicing an area that is approximately a 75-mile radius from the brewery in Stoke Lacy, Herefordshire. And we now have 7 of our own pubs.

In assessing Wye Valley Brewery’s commercial success, it’s important to add context by acknowledging our consistent product quality, customer service, new product development and reinvestments.

Quality in all we do

- Beer quality

To ensure the delivery of consistent quality beers day in day out, our brewers, working alongside our quality control team carefully monitor every brew, from the raw materials through to the end product. We are SALSA accredited and supply into all major UK multiple retailers and pub companies.

Continuous capital investment into our production facilities, such as automated cleaning and temperature control, has not only increased our capacity, but has improved beer quality.

Throughout the year we offer beer dispense training to all our trade customers, either at the brewery or at their premises, where they learn how best to look after and serve their draught beer.

- Customer Service

Beer delivered via our own transport team equates to around 70% of volume brewed by Wye Valley Brewery. This is particularly important with our cask ales as we can monitor quality by tracking where each pint of Wye Valley Brewery beer is sold and consumed.

In addition to our delivery service, our pub customers each have Field Sales Representatives, who in turn have sales admin and marketing support, looking after customer needs, including point of sale requests, tech support and marketing requirements.

We pride ourselves on providing exceptional service, an example of which was evidenced during and after Covid, when we credited in full all unbroached cask and keg beer that had been sat in pub cellars.

Product Development

1985 and Nightjar - product development

Product innovation has played a key part in our growth. In 2016 we installed a kegging line and launched our first ever lager – 1985. Cool, crisp and premium at 4.5% ABV, 1985 was a natural expansion of our range. In 2020, 1985 not only retained its title as the UK’s best premium lager at the SIBA National Beer Awards, but it was also crowned the overall keg beer champion!

In 2019, we introduced Fandango, a craft keg IPA. In 2022, we launched a kegged nitro stout, Nightjar. Developed from an original cask stout recipe dating back to when the brewery was established, Nightjar is smooth, dark and delectably indulgent.

With these three keg products, we’ve successfully straddled the cask and keg markets.


Wye Valley Brewery Sportive logo

As an independent family business with no external shareholders, we continually invest our profits to allow for future growth. This includes increasing the capacity of our production facilities and their energy efficiencies, with a long-term goal to become carbon neutral on-site.

- In 2012, we installed a new brewhouse and invested in pioneering sustainable technologies. In addition to roof-mounted solar panels, there are two ground solar PV arrays which have a combined generation capacity of 370 kW. Our spent grain and hops go to a farm only 250 metres away for animal feed and compost, excess yeast is used either for pig feed or in a local anaerobic digester. Steam vapour recovered from our brewhouse is used to clean our casks.

- In 2019, we invested in a new building to host cask washing, racking, storage and loadings bays all under one roof. This means there is now only one cold storage area (previously we had 4!) with a more efficient cooling system. In doing so, we have reduced on-site fork lift truck (FLT) movements by 80%. We now have 3 electric FLTs, with 2 more on order to replace our last gas powered trucks later this year. Our field sales team now drive electric or hybrid vehicles, with 12 EV charging stations at the brewery.


In 2021, we installed five new 80BBL conditioning tanks and two new 10BBL conditioning tanks, alongside a new hot liquor tank. A timely investment as we think back to the surge in demand for both our small-pack and keg beers, it gave us a much-needed increase in conditioning capacity. 

- In 2022, we invested in a ‘Free Air Cooler’ in order to tackle our biggest electrical energy consumer on site… our glycol chiller that regulates the temperature of our fermentation vessels. This 'Free Air Cooler' utilises the cool ambient temperatures that us Brits are all too familiar by sucking in cold air to bring the glycol down to the required temperature. So when the outside temperature drops to 4 degrees or below, our glycol chiller switches off and the temperature of our fermenting vessels is regulated by using the air around us. During the dark winter months when solar energy is at a minimum, this new chiller helps to reduce our electrical consumption.

- In 2023, we reached full capacity in our fermentation room, so we had two new fermenting vessels delivered which increased our capacity by 160 brewers’ barrels per week.

- Last year we made our biggest ever capital investment by installing a new bottling and canning line. This has more than doubled the capacity of our old bottling line and allowed us to produce our first ever canned beers.

- Last but by no means least, continual investment in our people. We are proud of our brilliant bunch of talented and passionate people. So recognising all their hard work and dedication they give to our business is incredibly important to us. We offer a comprehensive package of employee benefits, including employer pension contributions and discounts ion our products.

We encourage all our staff to gain external qualifications and training – two of our brewers have recently completed their brewing apprenticeships with two more working towards it. Two other members of staff are undertaking the IBD diploma in Brewing; and our Head Brewer recently gained the IBD Master Brewer accreditation. 

In 2021, we were officially accredited as a Real Living Wage Employer.

Looking Ahead

As we approach 40 years of brewing, the future of Wye Valley Brewery continues to be exciting with plans to future-proof our brewing facilities, and improve our visitor centre tap room, with the aim of becoming a destination experience.

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