Curious Brewery has held the topping-out ceremony for its new brewery in Ashford, celebrating the highest piece of the new steel structure being secured into place.
The brewery is owned by Chapel Down Group, the eponymous owner of Chapel Down wines, sparkling wines and spirits.
The ceremony included local dignitaries, such as Gerry Clarkson, leader of Ashford Borough Council, Curious Brewery MD, Gareth Bath, and Chapel Down chief executive, Frazer Thompson, as well as staff from across the businesses, who all enjoyed a Curious Brew to mark the key milestone in the brewery’s building schedule.
Opening in March 2019, the multi-million-pound, state-of-the art, custom-built brewery is just a stone’s throw from Ashford International Station, in Kent.
The site, of just over one and a half acres, will include a custom five-vessel brewhouse capable of producing more than 4.5 million pints per year. Beer will be kegged and bottled on site at a rate of more than 4,000 bottles an hour.
The new brewery will take inspiration from the tourism experiences offered at the Chapel Down Winery. Curious’ cicerone-trained team will host small group tours of the brewery facility that will tell the full field-to-throat story of their range of premium beers and ciders.
Curious guests will be taken on a journey through the production side of the brewery before sitting down for a tasting of the core range and any limited-batch beers straight from the tanks, to ensure the freshest and best quality beer is enjoyed by all.
Inspired by the Kent coastline
The brewery ground floor will consist of a 1,000 sq ft shop, bar and hosting area for the tours. Spectacular landscaped kitchen gardens, taking inspiration from the Kent coastline at Dungeness Headland, and the raw hop and barley ingredients of Curious beers, alongside a waterfall feature cascading from the front of the brewery, will complete the ground floor.
The first floor will feature a premium 4,000 sq ft bar and two dining rooms, where an open kitchen will serve modern British cuisine with ingredients sourced from local suppliers.
In the luxury private dining room, once a week, guests will have the opportunity to book onto special masterclasses hosted by one of the brewery team and featuring a bespoke menu from the kitchen, each carefully paired with a beer from the Curious range to showcase the quality local ingredients.
Gareth Bath said: “The new Curious Brewery won’t just be a major new employer in Ashford, directly and indirectly creating dozens of new jobs, it will be a reason for thousands of new visitors to come to the town each year and become a significant new focal point for everyone who lives here.”
Ashford Borough Council’s chief executive, Tracey Kerly, added: “This is change, putting Ashford on the map from a different perspective. We’re so pleased that Chapel Down have decided to come here. It’s rare to have a brewery in a town centre, and we’ve not got a brewery and restaurant right in the heart of Ashford.”