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New brewery will see Norwich’s Bullards brew under its own name for first time in 50 years

PUBLISHED: 15:49 22 October 2018 | UPDATED: 16:19 22 October 2018

An architect's impression of the new brewery for Bullards at Gressenhall. Picture: Brown and Co.

An architect's impression of the new brewery for Bullards at Gressenhall. Picture: Brown and Co.

Brown and Co

A Norfolk brewery which closed its city site more than 50 years ago has unveiled plans for a new Norfolk base - on land still owned by its founding family.

The Bullards team inside the new gin distillery at Crystal House on Cattle Market Street, including head brewer Hamish Cross, far left, John Bullard, third from left, and Russell Evans, centre. Picture: Heist Films.The Bullards team inside the new gin distillery at Crystal House on Cattle Market Street, including head brewer Hamish Cross, far left, John Bullard, third from left, and Russell Evans, centre. Picture: Heist Films.

Bullards brewed its last beer at the Anchor Brewery in Westwick Street in 1967, but now wants to begin brewing under its own name again.

The new £500,000 brewery at Gressenhall near Dereham will create up to 10 new jobs and allow Bullards to dramatically increase capacity as it looks to sell its beers further afield.

Plans were submitted to Breckland District Council last week for the 500sq m brewery, which will be built on farmland owned by John Bullard, great-great-grandson of company founder Richard Bullard.

The design of the new building also harks back to Bullards’ past. It will incorporate the shape of a traditional grain silo, while the fondly-remembered Anchor Brewery chimney stack, which was demolished in 1982, will be referenced by the vertical lettering on the exterior wall.

Staff at Bullards, Norwich. Photo: Archant ArchiveStaff at Bullards, Norwich. Photo: Archant Archive

Board director John Bullard said: “In this era of great technological and social change both locally and globally, it is a privilege to be involved in the revival of Bullards brewing in our home county.

“We’re rightly proud of our local heritage and we believe that there is the potential to make both Norwich and Norfolk renowned once more for its brewing.

“This new facility will enable us to do just that by using modern standards of production, with the capacity to develop and expand our product range, supporting the region’s economy with employment and the use of local suppliers.”

Among the suppliers to have been secured already is Crisp Maltings at Fakenham. The brewery will produce a range of keg and cask beers including its bestseller Bullards No.1 East Coast Pale Ale.

Since being revived in 2015, Bullards has been brewed at the Redwell Brewery in Trowse, but the Gressenhall site will see it return to brewing under its own name for the first time in 51 years.

The new brewery will see its brewing capacity soar from around 1,500 litres a month to up to 50,000 litres a month within five years.

Brewing will be overseen by head brewer Hamish Cross, who learned his trade in Australia before moving to the UK in 2017, and has an in-depth knowledge of lagers, Belgian beers and the English craft beer scene.

Bullards chairman Russell Evans said he wanted to use the new brewery to access wider markets.

“Brewing technology has evidently moved on enormously since Bullards beers first came to prominence,” he said.

“With these advances, a high spec facility and Hamish’s expertise, we’ve got a fantastic opportunity to make a great beer brand even better and introduce it to a far wider audience.”

The design includes sustainable drainage with the reinstating of an old pond, waste management systems to recycle spent grain as stock feed and solar power to offset energy usage.

If it receives planning approval, construction will begin in spring 2019.

Bullards also distills its own gin at the Ten Bells pub on St Benedicts Street in Norwich. In mid-November it will move production to Crystal House of Cattle Market Street, where a 600-litre still will see spirit production quadruple.

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