Charles Wells submits plans for new £13m brewery

Historic UK brewer Charles Wells has submitted a planning application for a new £13 million brewery and visitor centre to be located in Fairhill just off the A6 in the outskirts of Bedford.

Image: Charles Wells

The new 30,000 hectolitre brewery will also contain a visitor centre for brewery tours and an on-site pub which will double up as a venue for music, events and functions.

The brewery has stated that the location will provide it with good transport links into and out of Bedford, as well as allowing it to support its leased, tenanted and managed pubs in England and France.

Commercial director at Charles Wells, Peter Wells, added: “As a business, Bedford has been our home for over 140 years, and many members of the Wells family have lived and grown up here.

“While we remain a brewing family, our entire business focus is about supporting our pubs, whether they are part of our leased and tenanted estate or our growing managed estates in the UK and France. The new Charles Wells brewery will be a shining example of how traditional brewers can turn the evolution of the brewing industry to their advantage, listening to their pub partners to create beers that attract customers from far and wide.

Image: Charles Wells

“Support for new operators doesn’t end there. We will also seek to attract and train the best licensees in the industry. The new brewery will be a centre for excellence for ongoing training and best practice guidance throughout their time as a pub partner or managing partner with Charles Wells”.

The site will allow the brewer to “maintain our heritage” but also to develop a range of new beers.

Charles Wells had been searching for a new site since it sold its former brewery and the majority of its beer brands to Marston’s in a deal worth £55 million. The deal signalled the brewer’s exit from higher volume national sales in favour of more local, small scale brewing in Bedford.

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