Bath Ales

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Bath Ales has been a staple of the South-West craft scene since it was established in 1995, at a tiny brewery in Wincanton, Somerset. Founded by Roger Jones and Richard Dempster, the pair soon brought on Rab Clark, a local publican and the young brewery’s first customer. This turned out to be a very sound move on both sides, as demand for Bath Gem quickly gained momentum, with sales spreading throughout the region.

It has moved twice in the intervening 27 years, with several rounds of expansion between each move, and acquired a small group of pubs along the way. Its final move, to the impressive Hare Brewery, came after Bath Ales was acquired in 2016 by Cornwall’s St Austell Brewery, an independent, family brewer and pub company. As huge admirers of Bath Ales, St Austell invested heavily in the Hare Brewery site, which blends modern brewing technology with tried and true traditional British methods, giving Bath tremendous flexibility.

As well as investing in kit, Bath Ales also got a new head brewer, in the form of George Young, former head brewer at Fuller's. Originally hailing from Bristol herself, George had always had a soft spot for Bath Ales, and her leadership as St Austell Brewing Director, on the brewing side has been a game-changer, allowing the brewery to move into a new stage in its story, with consistent high quality and further development of its delicious, drinkability-focused brews.

“In order for a brewery like Bath to be creative and cutting edge, we first needed to have really good systems,” says George. “That’s meant fine-tuning our processes and monitoring, and making sure we've got that consistency in the core beers like Gem, Lansdown and our gluten-free Wild Hare, which is accredited by the Coeliac Association. Nailing that consistency has meant we can show our creative side, which is good for the brewers, and great for our drinkers.”

The brewery itself is certainly geared up for modern craft brewing, with an envy-inducing five-vessel brewhouse, a bottling line, a kegger and a brand new high capacity canning line, enabling Bath Ales to be innovative and produce short run quality beers – like this special edition of Monterey in cans. With the tools, the talent and the brews, Bath Ales has found a true home among its fellow craft brewers in Bristol’s exceptional scene.

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