Harrogate brewery now 'three times bigger'

A trail-blazing Harrogate family who have played a key role in the town's craft beer revolution have been "going the extra mile" recently in the biggest expansion in their firm's history.

Tuesday, 14th May 2019, 11:28 am
In the new tap room at Roosters' new Hornbeam Park premises - Roosters head brewer Oliver Fozard, taproom manager Josh Molloy and Roosters commercial manager Tom Fozard. (Picture by Gerard Binks)

At around 18000 sq ft the new floor space at family-owned Roosters' new headquarters at Hornbeam Park is three times bigger than its existing premises.

Award-winning Roosters owner Ian Fozard, who is national chairman of The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), said it had been hard work running the business from two locations as it prepared for its big move to massive new premises at Hornbeam Park.

But he, and his sons Tom and Oliver, are delighted to have completed phase one of their move from a small unit Grimbald Park outside Knaresborough for 18 years with the opening to the public last week of their brewery taproom.

Business expansion at Roosters in Harrogate - Tap room manager Josh Molloy, commercial manager Tom Fozard and head brewer Oliver Fozard. (Picture by Gerard Binks)

Mr Fozard said: "We’ve all been “burning the candle” in the last few months with project managing and planning the new site whilst keeping the existing site and business going. "It will get harder as we near the brewery move. Once we have proved we can replicate the beers on the new plant, we will be ready to move. "Fortunately, we have a great brewing team and they’ve been “going the extra mile”."

The new plant with its towering, state-of-the-art silver tanks is a huge step forward a independent company whose roots lie in a humble starter unit set up by craft beer pioneer Sean Franklin at Claro Road in Harrogate just over 25 years ago when he would deliver his early brews by taxi.

The new brewery on Fifth Avenue, on the south western corner of Hornbeam Park, is still under construction with completely new brewing vessels, steam boiler and grain handling equipment currently being installed.

But it's already opened its sizable new tap room boasting a spectacular viewing window into the brewery as well as a superb south facing beer garden.

Tom Fozard, commercial manager, who will oversee the new taproom, said “Having visited many brewery taprooms on trips to the USA, I’m really excited that Roosters is now able to bring the concept to Harrogate. "From running various events at our site in Knaresborough, we’re aware that consumers are increasingly interested in provenance and being able to sample beer fresh from its source forms part of that experience.”

When the Fozards first bought Roosters in 2011, they already had a formidable pedigree in the industry.It was dad Ian who founded Knaresborough-based Market Town Taverns in 1999, firing the starting pistol on a new wave of civilised bars, including the Old Bell Tavern, which offer high quality independent beers, no music or slot machines.Always ahead of the curve, in 2005 Market Taverns became the first pub chain in the UK to ban smoking.

Having won eight awards for Roosters recently at the Society of Independent Brewers' north east beer competition, the Fozards are keen to ensure they continue to live up to the ethos of the firm's original founder Sean Franklin.

The great pioneer of British craft beer brought a new attitude to beer and hops in the UK i n the early 1990s inspired by his knowledge of wine techniques in France.

Ian Fozard said: "We are really proud that we have kept Sean Franklin’s ethos going. "Oliver, although a brewer for over ten years when we bought the brewery in 2011, will readily admit that he learned a lot from Sean in the seven months they worked together. "Sean’s ethos of brewing clean tasting beers using interesting New World hop blends continues."We’re still brewing Yankee and YPA - both of which were award winning beers under Sean and they are still winning awards today. "But we’ve also developed our own award-winning recipes."

Always keen supporters of local firms, the expensive new brewery equipment at Hornbeam Park, Roosters has stayed British in its new premises,Head brewer Oliver Fozard, who is overseeing the installation, said “We’re really proud that all of our new equipment is being sourced from UK manufacturers – our aim is to get it fully commissioned as soon as possible, with the move from our current Knaresborough production site scheduled for the end of June.”

Chris Bentley, director of Hornbeam Park developments, said Roosters' expansion was good news for the business park - and the town.He said “We are delighted to have been able to accommodate Roosters as a Tenant on Hornbeam Park to support their business expansion and continuation of the Roosters brewing tradition within the Harrogate District. "The building has undergone an impressive transformation internally and the taproom concept is a superb facility and a great addition to the existing leisure uses on site. We are looking forward to seeing the brewing plant in operation in due course.”

The Roosters taproom, which is managed by Josh Molloy, formerly of Major Tom’s Social bar in Harrogate, will be open every day except Mondays and Tuesdays, opening from 4pm Wednesday and Thursday, from noon on Fridays to Sundays.