Cask racking at St Austell Brewery. Photograph: Emily Whitfield-Wicks

St Austell Brewery started brewing draught beer again this week, in preparation for the possible re-opening of pubs from 4th July, based on timings indicated in the government’s roadmap to recovery.

The brewery, which owns 182 managed and tenanted pubs across the West Country, also supplies more than 3,000 free trade customers in the region.

Production started with 440 barrels of St Austell’s flagship pale ale, Tribute, accounting for almost half of the company’s weekly barrelage. The brewery is currently producing more than 1,022 brewer’s barrels per week — the equivalent of over 294,000 pints — which will be gradually scaled up in the weeks and months ahead.

As well as Tribute, St Austell is gearing up to brew its other core cask brands, including Proper Job, Cornish Best, Trelawny, and Hicks. Draught Gem and Prophecy is also being produced again at Bath Ales’ Hare Brewery, which the company acquired in 2016. Keg brands being produced for both breweries include Proper Job, Korev, Mena Dhu, Cubic, Monterey, and Dark Side.

‘Cask beer is essential part of pub culture in the UK — there’s nothing quite like it’

St Austell Brewery is gearing up its stocks and will start delivering beer — as well as wines, spirits, and soft drinks — to wholesale customers across the West Country, as soon as a re-opening date has been confirmed.

Andrew Turner, managing director of St Austell Brewery’s beer and brands, said: “I’m pleased to say that we are back in production and getting ready for the long-awaited re-opening of our great British pubs, which we’re hoping the government will confirm as soon as possible. We’re proud to be playing our part in the national effort to restock cellars with fresh beer.

“Cask beer is an integral part of pub culture in the UK — there’s nothing quite like it. It’s been months since we’ve brewed draught beer — the longest time since 1851 — so we’re delighted to see production up and running again.”

Throughout the lockdown, St Austell Brewery and Bath Ales’ entire production effort has been focused on bottling and canning core beer brands for supermarkets, sales of which have risen by 32%. Since pub closures in March, online shop services for St Austell Brewery and Bath Ales have also seen a combined increase of more than 1,000% in comparison to 2019.  

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