Robinsons Brewery has today announced plans to relocate its Lower Hillgate brewing and head office operations to its packaging centre in Bredbury.
The family run brewer and pub operator will be investing £12m in the relocation – expected to be completed by 2025 – which will see the installation of a new brewhouse, together with up-to-date, purpose-built office accommodation.
It will mean that all operations including brewing, cask racking, kegging, bottling lines and logistics will be housed on one site for the first time since 1949, which has been a long-held ambition of the Robinson family. The packaging operation has been in Bredbury for over 40 years.
Robinsons have been proud custodians of the town centre Unicorn Brewery site since William Robinson acquired the Unicorn Inn in 1838 and both William and Oliver acknowledged it had been a difficult decision.
They commented: “It will be a wrench. The business has a long history in the town centre and we are very respectful of the company’s role in the Lower Hillgate area. But the economic and logistical limitations of the site were impossible to ignore. Moving everything under one roof gives us the ability to provide a more modern, flexible and greener brewing and packaging operation, while reflecting the company’s heritage.”
Around 50 people, who currently work in head office, brewery and cellar service roles in Lower Hillgate, will make the move to Bredbury. Robinsons famous Shire horses will also be moving to a new home.
The cousins confirmed that no compulsory job losses are envisaged from the move, and, in fact, it would support wider recruitment plans associated with the acquisition of new pubs – to add to its 23 managed houses – and further investment in its 230-strong tenanted pub estate.
Robinsons are currently working on proposals to reopen the Bull’s Head in Market Square later this year, after substantial renovations, and remain absolutely committed to supporting its town centre pub communities.
The family has been working collaboratively with Stockport Council to prepare a solid foundation for everyone’s future across the Borough and to look at the opportunity that freeing up the present brewery site would provide for further regeneration of the historic town centre.
Commenting on the relocation of the brewery, Leader of Stockport Council, Councillor Elise Wilson, said:
“It is great to see Robinsons continuing to invest in Stockport where they have been doing business for many years. This is also really good news for jobs within the Borough. We look forward to seeing their future plans for the town centre site as they are developed over the coming months.”
Oliver and William Robinson added: “This announcement demonstrates our commitment to writing a new chapter in our history in Stockport, continuing to brew, deliver and package award-winning cask, keg and bottled beer under 100% family ownership.”