Hong Kong’s craft beer brewery Gweilo expands production

Spurred on by the city’s rising demand for craft beer, Hong Kong brewery Gweilo has expanded its operations into a new brewing facility in the New Territories, which will increase its production capacity to 6,000 cans an hour.

The new operation base boasts a US$1.2 million Italian canning machine, capable of producing 6,000 cans per hour. The facility, according to local newspaper South China Morning Post, will be, “Hong Kong’s largest craft beer brewery and one of Asia’s most advanced”.

Starting from last October, a range of new equipment including a bottling machine from Germany capable of producing 3,000 bottles an hour, a centrifuge from Sweden, a custom-made chiller from the US and the Italian canning machine have been shipped and installed at the new facility in Fo Tan.

The expansion is seen as the brewery’s effort to meet Hong Kong’s growing thirst for craft beer when its previous shared-premise no longer able to accommodate rising demand.

“There’s growing interest in craft beers – beer with no additives or preservatives, made in smaller batches with traceability, and created with a bit of love and passion,” Ian Jebbitt, one of the founders of the brewery, told the newspaper.

One of the main focuses for the brewery in the future will be a shift from bottles to cans.

“Cans are the way forward. They protect the beer by completely blocking out damage caused by light … [and] keep dissolved oxygen levels – the main enemy of a brewer – extremely low, which leads to fresher beer for longer. They are also more environmentally friendly,” Justin Jackson, assistant brewer was quoted as saying.

In addition, Gweilo is planning to introduce more choices of beers including core, quarterly, seasonal, collaboration and sour-beer ranges and a barrel-ageing programme, as well as a limited-edition 1,000-litre experimental product range.

Gweilo was founded by Ian Jebbitt in 2015 with his wife, Emily, and their friend Joe Gould. The name Gweilo means ‘foreigner’ in Cantonese slang. Other local craft breweries in the city include Young Master, Moonzen, Black Kite Brewery, Kowloon Bay Brewery, Yardley Brothers and Hong Kong Beer Co.

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