North Yorkshire-based pub operator Mitchells of Lancaster says weekly production volumes at York Brewery have increased 58% since it was taken over by Mitchells three years ago, writes Tony Halstead.

Volumes at the York Brewery have risen from 85 barrels a week in 2008 up to the current level of 135 barrels, the company said. Mitchells said financial investment and greater access to the free trade market has driven the rise in sales.

The brewery has marked the anniversary by unveiling a major corporate re-branding which will be rolled out across all areas of its business.

Managing director Andrew Barker revealed investment in extras sales staff, distribution facilities and the vehicle fleet was designed to give the brewery the legs to expand its business further.

“We have made real progress since taking over illustrated by a very healthy increase in barrelage and the various investments we have put in now puts us in a good position to move forwards.

“We want to consolidate our position as a leading regional brewer,” he said.

A key change has been to move the brewer’s distribution facility onto a new site 500 yards from the current site in Toft Green.

Barker said this would release space for new fermenters and plant should production near the 180 barrel per week capacity of the current operation.

Mitchells has stressed its purchase of the brewery had never been designed to flood its 75-strong tied estate with York beers.

“Only about 10% of our production goes into Mitchells’ pubs. Some 50% goes into the genuine free trade with the remainder into pubcos and reciprocal brewer supply arrangements.

“We always intended to grow the business through the extensive free trade opportunities North Yorkshire and beyond presents,” he added.

Barker said the brewery had managed to raise its profile through the sizeable tourist opportunities the city of York presented. Brewery tours are now running at four per day.