Established in 2006. Born in Bristol. Learn More.
United in taste.
The Rising Sun
The old bar in the main pub was stripped out and a new, still traditional, bar was put in, lengthening the bar by about 2 meters. This included 3 more hand pumps for real ales, which extended the range from 3 to 6. This increase in ale capacity no doubt lead to us receiving the pub of the year award in 1995
The Great Western Brewing Company
Great Western Brewing Company Ltd was established on 17th November 2006.
Kevin and Sandra purchased The Old Bakery in the village of Hambrook, near Bristol. The property, a historic bakehouse, dates back to the 1700s and rumour has it, has a resident ghost (Sydney) !! Restoration work commenced in June 2007 and the property was transformed into a show-piece brewery with many of its original features restored.
The work began with shot blasting the entire inside of the building, stripping away old paint and rotten plaster. The floors, joists and walls, that had gone into disrepair, were replaced.
Our First Brewery
Once we had the inner structure of the building stable we moved on to fitting the electrics, by this time the glorious English summer had ended abruptly. When the electric board was about to connect us up they noticed a cheeky waterfall cascading down the wall! Needless to say, it was beer o'clock early that day.
once the brewery was finished, we had a borehole drilled to a depth of 60m
Brewing started in March 2008. This by no means meant that the building work was finished. W We were able to install our three, 10 barrel fermenting vessels. All of which were open-top, so It's safe to say, our roots are grounded in tradition.
We had the brewery at a standard where we could heat our brewing liquor, bring the copper to the boil and sterilize our casks. This was all down to the fact that we based our heating capabilities on steam.
We did our research and found from multiple sources that steam was the most reliable, powerful, and controllable way to heat any medium, be it treated water or wort. The steam came from our 12000 horsepower boiler, aptly named Hercules.
After many years of steady growth, we noticed the market trends for small pack beer. We decided to invest in a bottling machine. Previously, we had outsourced the bottling of our beer, which resulted in varying quality and increased costs.
We opted for an ENOBERG machine which was one of the best in Europe. After a leisurely trip to Bergamo, Italy and more bottles of Lombardia wine than we can remember("When in Rome"), we were sold.
Our New Home
In 2019, after viewing many properties we found the perfect match. An industrial unit situated in Brislington, Bristol. The new building offered so much more space, the bigger footprint for the bigger brewhouse, bigger offices and a bigger yard, everything we needed to take the next step. The icing on the cake was that Victory Park was across the road. Needless to say, the dogs were very happy.
A 3000L Brewhouse
Just As covid was about to hit, we upgraded our equipment and increased our capacity. Probably not the best timing, but like many other businesses, we made it through by the skin of our teeth.
Firstly we added two mezzanines to increase and utilize even more of the space.
One mezzanine would become the taproom and malt store.
The Second would become a cold store for the beer.
We started by completely overhauling the floor, adding 20m of drainage with falls.
With a bigger brewhouse, we would need a lot more water. We had a borehole drilled to meet the increase in demand.
Borehole water gives us a quality that would be near impossible to recreate. Using source water is the purest and most authentic way to make food and drink unique. Our beer isn't just Bristol beer, It is Brislington beer.
Once all the hard stuff was done, it was time to get the kit working as one to produce some tasty beer!
The new equipment included a 120L pilot brew kit for small-batch test brews which can be canned directly from the 120L fermenter
In December 2021 Great Western Brewing Company Became Hop Union brewery. What better time to refresh the brand than when building a new production site?
We found the new name was more dynamic and represented more of our core values. After all, beer does unite us.
We have always wanted to bring our brand alive. To create something that transcended just a beer brand. We came up with the idea of a mascot and partnered with a marketing company to realise that dream.
The new kit worked a treat. It increased our brew length to 2800L and shortened our brew day. No more jumping into the mashtun and digging out the malt into 25kg bags. The new mashtun emptied itself into ton bags.... The Dream!
Being primarily a cask beer producer, our first dive into the craft beer scene started when we purchased a Wild Goose counter-pressure canning machine. It doubled our packaging litres per minute and increased our sustainability. Bottles are recyclable but not as easily recycled as cans.
This was a brand new model and was the first machine installed in the UK.
Work In Progress
Our Taproom, which is located at the front of the building, was under construction.
It is industrial style (seeing it's on an industrial estate), with 10 taps on the bar and overlooks the brewery through 2m high windows. Initially, it will be open to the public Thursday and Fridays.
Find out how we got to now.
It's been a long journey so far but the story isn't over.....
How we got to now...