The Crafty Brewing Company, the multiple award-winning microbrewery based in Dunsfold, Surrey has acquired Guildford-based brewery, The Little Beer Corporation (LBC). LBC was set up 10 years ago by local entrepreneur Jim Taylor. The acquisition sees The Crafty Brewing Co. take over LBC’s lease, acquire its assets and continue employment for all LBC staff members.
The purchase will ensure the continuation of a century-long brewing tradition in Guildford and will allow The Crafty Brewing Co. to double its brewing capacity to 40,000 litres of beer per month. Since The Crafty Brewing Co. was established in 2014 the company has grown organically from a single 100-litre brewing vessel, making small-batch craft beers for village fetes and a few local pubs, to serving over 260 bars, hotels, restaurants and theatres across Surrey, East and West Sussex, Hampshire and London’s West End.
Committed to creating award-winning and innovative British craft beer, The Crafty Brewing Co. will continue to expand its range of craft beers while ensuring that many of Little Beer Corporation’s most popular brews live on within The Crafty Brewing Co. brand family.
The Crafty Brewing Co. has picked up Gold awards from the Society of Independent Brewers in 2016, 2017 and 2018 for three of its most popular craft beers; Dunsfold Best, Hop Tipple IPA and Laughing Wolf.
On signing the purchase agreement, Crafty brewing Co. Founder and Head Brewer Luke Herman said: “This is a milestone for us and, we believe, for Guildford. The Friary Mieux brewery closed in 1969 (now the site of the Friary Shopping Centre) so Little Beer was the city’s last remaining brewer. We’re thrilled to take on the mantle of rejuvenating Guildford’s proud brewing tradition. We will start immediately!”
Meanwhile, The Crafty Brewing Co. will redevelop its original brewhouse to create a new 4,000 sq. ft. brewery with a capacity of 100,000 litres per month. The expanded brewery is being built at Thatched House Farm near Dunsfold in the heart of the Surrey Hills – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The brewery also keeps a drove of over 50 free-range rare breed pigs to ensure its beer is brewed sustainably; the large Hungarian Mangalitsa pigs are fed with the 200 kg of spent grain and hops that leave the brewery each day.
Andrew McMorran, The Crafty Brewing Co. CEO commented: “We owe our success to the loyalty of our customers in Surrey but with demand now coming from national restaurant groups, hotels and theatres we need this extra capacity in Guildford to produce more beer. We launched an apprenticeship scheme with Godalming College in February so now we have the capacity to increase production we can recruit more local people to make, sell and deliver to new customers”.
Jim Taylor founder of The Little Beer Corporation commented: “We closed Little Beer with a heavy heart. However, our extraordinary beers and our former shareholders will be in excellent hands with The Crafty Brewing Co. I look forward to seeing Crafty Brewing go from strength to strength”.
The Crafty Brewing Co. will be operating brewery tours in Guilford and the brewery shop is now open at the Midleton Industrial Estate site. Customers can also buy directly from The Crafty Brewing Co. website at www.craftybrewing.co.uk.