As we approach the end of another year, it seems a fitting time to catch up on developments at Magic Rock HQ, 2017 has been another fantastic year for us, we’ve made many improvements to production, process and capacity and seen sales growth of around 30% on 2016. Our annual production looks like it will be around 17,000hl for the year up from 12’600hl last year.
The new fermenting vessels and conditioning tanks discussed in the blog back in July are now installed and commissioned, giving us a 70% increase in overall capacity (from 700 to 1200hl of production) and meaning you should see more Magic out and about. If you’re a pub/bar/shop that’s looking to stock our beers now’s a good time to get in touch.
These new tanks mean we are pretty much at capacity for the site and can turn our attention to more production and process improvements. The biggest of these is a new canning line which is now looming large in our sites. We have funding in place and quotes from 3 manufacturers leaving us to just go through the decision making process of which route to go down.
Whichever line we choose we are looking at improvements to quality through lower oxygen pick up and big improvements to process through less waste and faster filling speeds. The new line which we expect to have in place by the middle of next year will also have a case packing facility which will remove one of the most laborious tasks in the brewery.
In addition to the line we have a number of smaller projects pending including a semi-automated key keg filler and a yeast propagation and recovery system, which is currently being commissioned. We are also looking at our trade waste and effluent system where we have improvements to make. All are small but quantifiable steps in our mission to make our beer the best it possibly can be.
In product news we’re excited to announce that we’ll have two new permanent 330ml printed cans joining the line up in January. Firstly our German Pils, Dancing Bear will be a permanent addition to the line up (that sound you can hear is our brewers cheering). Secondly our Gluten Free hopheads dream Fantasma will make the transition to 330ml cans and join the permanent line up.
In addition to these two and on the back of a phenomenal response to the first batch we will be making our 3.9% Session IPA ‘Saucery’ a permanent feature on keg going forward.
All this extra production makes our commitment to quality control more important than ever and with this in mind we have just received planning permission to extend our onsite lab. We are tripling the size of our laboratory facility over the next year in order to give us the space needed to invest in more QC equipment and provide a working space for a full time lab technician (at the moment our shift brewers perform lab duties).
Extra production means more storage space for packaged beer needed and we are extremely happy that our distribution warehouse across the road is now up and running. This space gives us an additional 5500 sqft of, temperature controlled, racked out warehousing for all our finished product to be held and additional space for preparing pallets before dispatch.
The warehouse and dray team are now based full time at this site so if you call at the brewery to collect beer and haven’t been for a while it’s worth noting this is now the collection point for all our goods out.
Our Taprooms popularity continues to amaze us and in light of the increased beer going through the lines we are currently extending the Taproom cellar space by building a dedicated cask store. Previously the cask had been held at one end of the main keg store but the volume of kegs and casks we are needing to stock the space with weekly was becoming unworkable. The new cask store will allow the staff loads more room and will also be temperature controlled allowing us to keep the cask at its optimal serving temperature.
Personnel wise we’re sad to announce that our head of production and cerebral dynamo Nick Zeigler is leaving us for pastures new. Nick has played an integral part in establishing and expanding our brewing operation since we moved to the new site in 2015 and we thank him for all his hard work. Nick leaves with our best wishes (and an agreement that we get to keep the ‘Zeigler Meatatron 3000’ smoker that he made.) In case you’re wondering he’s heading back stateside as the Director of Technical Programs work with our friends at YCHops.
The super talented Christa Sandquist will be stepping up to fill Nick’s big shoes as our new Production Manager. In other personnel news we’ve been delighted to welcome Fran Roe (assistant brewer), John Lambert (drayman) and Will Platt (warehouse) to the team in the last few months.
Last but not least we’re finally pulling our finger out and holding our first invitational beer festival next June at the Taproom. Without going into too much detail the ticketed event will celebrate the best ‘session beers’ and take place over a single session. We’re inviting 25 of our best brewing buddies from around the UK and a few from further afield and it should be a whole lot of fun. More details coming soon!
We are once again closing the brewery between Christmas and New Year to give the team some well earned time off (we will shut on lunchtime 22nd December and return on January 2nd.) The Taproom has extended hours over the Christmas period, click here for the full hours… hopefully we’ll see you in there for a beer at some point!
That’s about it for now, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone we’ve worked with and who’s enjoyed our beers in 2017 a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, thank you for your continued support, here’s to lots of exciting stuff in 2018, cheers!