Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Hydes Numbers Don't Add Up


You may or may not have noticed that one of the four remaining Manchester Family Brewers, Hydes has decided to close its Moss Side brewery and move to a green field site.  The main point of this being the age and location of the venerable brewery itself.   (I have visited it and it is indeed very cramped and yes, very old.)  The family remain firmly committed to brewing and the new site, though smaller, will produce exclusively Real Ales. It is expected that they will produce a core range plus seasonals and special brews.  The family will remain as owners and will take an active role in the running of the new brewery, though all the free trade business has been sold to Thwaites.

That was roughly the picture in January, though I have omitted some of the more mundane details.  Since then it has been revealed  that the new £2 million brewery will be based in the former Greenalls Distribution Centre at Media City in Salford. This is a modern 20,000 sq foot  industrial unit and it is expected that the new brewery will be fully operational by September / October.  The brewery will be a fully automated, brand-new brewing set -up, with an initial capacity of 5,000 barrels per year.  This is a huge fall from current capacity and production and even allowing for the loss of contract brewing (including cask Boddingtons) is quite astonishing.  The brewery is probably knocking out around 40,000 barrels currently, though it was as much as 88,000 barrels when Boddies was still being bought in quantity.

According to their web site Hydes has 66 pubs. A 5000 barrel brewery would be able to supply each pub with  around six nines a week.  The obvious conclusion from that is that most of the requirements of the Hydes estate are going to be bought in from elsewhere.  A two million pound brewery, producing around 100 barrels a week, just doesn't seem economic.

 I understand the Hydes Production Manager, Paul Jeffries will be guest speaker at Stockport and South Manchester CAMRA Branch meeting this week. The answers to the many hard questions that should arise will be very instructive.

This blog piece draws heavily on CAMRA information. I have also heard the cask Boddies is likely to be discontinued.

19 comments:

Cooking Lager said...

Punt up and ask the question.

I place my bet on the 5,000 number being wrong, whether misreported or a typo in a press release.

Credit for knowing and questioning the number.

Anonymous said...

Cask Boddies to be discontinued as in no one will brew it at all?

Tandleman said...

Anon. I get the feeling the numbers are so small, that it isn't worthwhile any more.

Cookie. John and the gang will ask anything I'd be interested in.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that 5000bb/yr number was mentioned in the letter to licencees and shareholders on the Saturday the news originally came out.

I may be wrong. Usually am.

Curmudgeon said...

I'll be there, so will be able to find out what this means.

Robinson's latest press release says they are brewing 37,000 barrels a year, for an estate of maybe 350 pubs, which is about 2 barrels per pub per week, about twice the Hydes figure. But Robbies' also have a fair amount of free trade and bottled business, which Hydes don't.

Steve Lamond said...

Look forward to hearing what you find out.

RedNev said...

I'll be watching this space with interest.

Matt said...

The last two times I've been in my local Hydes pub - both weekend afternoons - there's been no cask beer with the landlord blaming "supply problems". Don't know if that's just a coincidence or whether they're running down brewing capacity.

Tatton Brewery said...

Surprised no-one has mentioned PBD (Small Brewers Relief). At current vol Hyde's are ineligible for SBR; at the putative new volume they will benefit greatly from SBR. Now, I acknowledge this appears eccentric, but maybe they are cleverer than I (likely), or maybe they caught something from Humphrey Smith (possible).

Tatton Brewery said...

Surprised no-one has mentioned PBD (Small Brewers Relief). At current vol Hyde's are ineligible for SBR; at the putative new volume they will benefit greatly from SBR. Now, I acknowledge this appears eccentric, but maybe they are cleverer than I (likely), or maybe they caught something from Humphrey Smith (possible).

Tatton Brewery said...

Hope they are cleverer at avoiding double posts...

Curmudgeon said...

I heard this presentation from Paul Jeffreys tonight. He's a confident, articulate speaker and knows his stuff. I certainly got the impression that Hydes had thought the move through carefully.

5,000 barrels a year is a realistic assessment of the volume of their own beers Hydes are currently putting through their pubs. Original Bitter makes up over two-thirds of this. With more intensive use there will, however, be the opportunity to increase production well above that level.

They are going to concentrate entirely on cask beers - their smooth beers will be discontinued and third party alternatives brought it.

They plan to buy their new site outright rather than leasing it, which is a sign of commitment to the future.

They are also considering introducing a separate range of beers under a different branding.

While they have abandoned direct selling to free trade accounts, they are still looking at doing wholesale business with companies like Wetherspoons and Punch.

In the short term at least, cask Boddingtons will be allowed to die.

Curmudgeon said...

And yes, they will benefit from PBD.

Tandleman said...

Mudgie - Thanks for this. Still astonishing, but glad they are hanging on in there.

Curmudgeon said...

I think the real driver for the move is the ending of the InBev brewing contracts, which makes the current brewery uneconomic.

He pointed out that Robinson's new brewhouse has a brew length of 90 barrels, as opposed to 360 in the old one, so represents a similar although less obvious reduction in capacity.

And consider yourself honoured, as he had brought a print-out of this blogpost along, so no doubt will be reading this.

He said last year's volume, with all the InBev contracts, was actually 60,000 barrels, not 40,000.

Cooking Lager said...

What was the news on Harp lager?

Curmudgeon said...

You mean you weren't there in disguise to hear it for yourself, Cookie?

Cooking Lager said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cooking Lager said...

I wore a Ronnie Barker disguise but I got set upon by ravenous women at the bar and never got to hear it. It happens everytime.