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Greene King is set to invest £40m in developing a new state-of-the-art brewery in Bury St Edmunds.

The investment will see the pub operator and brewer commit to continue its legacy of brewing cask ale, alongside its newer craft beer brands.

It builds on the company’s 200-year history of brewing in Bury St Edmunds since its founding in 1799.

Greene King plans to move the majority of its brewing to the new site from its existing Westgate Brewery in the city, with the new site is expected to take around three years to complete before brewing can begin there.

The facility is set to capitalise on trends for craft beer and low & no beer, with the Suffolk- brewer launching its first craft beers in 2022 – Flint Eye, a dry-hopped lager, and Level Head, a session IPA.

However, CEO Nick Mackenzie still sees cask as “very significant” part of the market, with the group still selling five million pints of cask every week.

The proposed new brewery is part of the company’s wider transformation programme, as it seeks to deliver on its strategy to be a modern hospitality business.

Greene King’s new operation will be located next to its new distribution centre and will significantly improve the sustainability of the company’s brewing operations.

Per pint, water usage in the brewing process will be reduced by more than 50%, alongside significant improvements in energy efficiency.

It will drive Greene King’s progression towards its science-based environmental targets, which includes the company’s aim to be carbon net zero by 2040, as well as reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030.

Over the last two years, Greene King has invested in a new multi-million-pound distribution centre, adjacent to the proposed site for the new brewery in Bury St Edmunds, as well as over £9m in its historic Belhaven Brewery in Dunbar, as further evidence of its commitment to brewing in the UK.

Nick Mackenzie, chief executive officer at Greene King, said: “Brewing in Bury St Edmunds is a core part of Greene King’s DNA. This investment represents a further and significant ongoing commitment to our brewing operations in a town which has such a rich and storied connection with our business and with brewing. As we seek to make our operations more sustainable, our new brewery will future proof our ability to brew our much-loved brands, as we create a thriving modern hospitality business.”

Matt Starbuck, managing director Brewing & Brands at Greene King, said: “We have been brewing in Bury St Edmunds for over 200 years. We are passionate about our craft and the development of this state-of-the-art facility will allow us to maintain brewing at the core of our business going forwards. We are excited by the opportunity that this affords and the chance to invest in innovation and the development of our world-class beer portfolio.”

Jo Churchill, MP for Bury St Edmunds, said: “Greene King is at the heart of our Bury St Edmunds community, and has been for more than two centuries. Building a modern, more sustainable brewery that looks to the future will bring many benefits. It is brilliant to see the company commit to the future of its operations in the town and surrounding areas, supporting hundreds of jobs and maintaining the town’s heritage as a pillar of British brewing.”

Councillor Cliff Waterman, Leader of West Suffolk Council, said: “Greene King has been an integral part of Bury St. Edmunds for more than 200 years, and it is fantastic to see their continued commitment to the town through the proposal for a state-of-the-art new brewery that will future proof their brewing operations for many years to come.”