Local brewery, Hepworth, changed location, after over 15 years at its original site. Ever increasing popularity, since opening the Hepworth doors to business in 2001, has led the company to outgrow premises in Horsham’s Railway Yard.
The new footprint, designed by Andy Hepworth, needed a few acres. Sites of such a size do not come cheap in the South East of England and are laden with caveats regarding planning. None, including Andy, of the core personnel wished to move and their skills were essential. The new site had to be in the South East, finance and planning notwithstanding.
Christie Price, at Hepworth, said: “Many potential sites to rent were investigated, but all were fatally flawed. Andy is very particular about his breweries and would not settle for a compromise. The New Brewery had to fulfil many conditions, and we, the Directors, had come to the conclusion that we had to buy and build.
“We were helped to our current situation by helpful HDC officers, who pointed out the potential to buy land from Brinsbury College. The land was local, and large enough to plan to Andy’s satisfaction. We are hugely grateful for the support of HDC.
“Our shareholders have been more than generous, indulgent even. They have been patient for many years with the demands of the Brewery, and have been immensely supportive and actively interested in our progress. Our bank, were also supportive. After all, which bank wouldn’t want a Brewery on its books?”
Wanting to remain local in ethos, as well as geography, the company commissioned an architect from Steyning and building contractors from Pulborough, sought landscaping advice in Chichister and stayed close to Horsham for legal advice.
All staff from the original site were relocated to the new premises. Christie explained: “Our staff came with us. We are delighted by this, and very grateful for their skills and loyalty.
“Our move was blessed by a financial award from government backed funding. Their contribution helped enormously at a time when our then nominated contractors went bust, leaving us to reinstate the tendering process .We lost many valuable months, which knocked on to our late start. We moved equipment last May, lost a few weeks (planned!) of production and the office moved to the new brewery in September.
“We still have much more to do. There is always going to be a lot more to do. It’s a brewery; there always has to another pint! Cheers to all and many, many, thanks!”