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Duncan Sambrook: operating at brewing capacity past three years provides confidence to relocate, expand


Sambrook’s to relocate to former Young’s site

Sambrook’s Brewery is poised to transfer operations to the former home of Young’s, continuing a brewing tradition on the Wandsworth site that goes back nearly 500 years.

A 20-year lease within what’s now known as Ram Quarter has been agreed with developer Greenlands. Detailed plans are being submitted for the restored Grade 2 listed property which already has permission for a brewery and pub.

Duncan Sambrook, who founded the Battersea business in 2008, is in discussions with SSV about installing a 20 to 30-hectolitre three-vessel brewhouse plus enough fermentation and maturation capacity to double capacity to 30,000 hectolitres a year.

“That’s about the same size as our existing kit, but we will be able to brew on it multiple times a day,” he said. “We started out as a cask brewer but we’re now brewing increasing amounts of keg, so we need more flexibility to produce those styles.

“It’s a difficult market at the moment but we have been at capacity for three years now and I’m confident we’re in a position to expand.

“And it’s great to know that we’re continuing the long brewing heritage at the Ram Quarter. It feels like a homecoming and we’re excited to usher in a new era of British brewing at the site.”

Sambrook revealed that he had been looking to move for some time but had delayed a decision in order to ensure the brewery stayed in Wandsworth. The opportunity eventually appeared “out of the blue” last summer thanks to an approach by commercial property agent AG&G.

With brewing expected to be underway early in 2020, production and distribution will be split with warehousing transferring to a site elsewhere in south London. Sambrook already owns a separate packaging operation, SEB in Kent.

The Ram operation will feature an integrated pub and beer garden, hopefully open by Christmas, and a visitor centre linked to a planned heritage centre dedicated to London brewing.

“There is nothing else like that at the moment and we are reaching out to the Brewery History Society and archivists to help us create something special,” said Sambrook.

He has also invited former Young’s brewing manager John Hatch, who has been maintaining continuity of brewing on the site on a microbrewery in the old stable block, to join the venture and produce his Phoenix Ale on a commercial basis. 

Young’s closed the Ram Brewery to focus on its pub estate in 2006, and the development on the site, only a couple of miles from the existing Sambrook’s Brewery, will include 713 homes and 100,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and leisure space.

Phil Mellows
23rd July 2019

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