Marston's expansion hopes after Bedford brewery takeover

Published
Image caption,
Much of the brewery has been left unchanged and brews Eagle, Courage, Bombardier and Young's bitter

A company that bought a brewery in a £55m deal has said it wants to create more jobs and beers as part of its hopes to expand production.

Marston's, which took over the Havelock Street brewery in Bedford from Charles Wells in May, said it had invested £250,000 on upgrading the site.

The building and business in the town will be known as The Eagle Brewery.

Gordon Keen, of Marston's, said 18 beers are currently brewed there, but that would increase.

"We now plan to take a local brand and make it nationwide," he said.

Image caption,
The Eagle Brewery has had £250,000 spent on it, including a new logo and signage
Image source, Charles Wells
Image caption,
Charles Wells moved into the premises in 1976, which went through a previous refurbishment in 2015

A shop and visitor centre, which will run weekly organised tours, has been added to the site since the takeover.

"It is really important we do not forget the past, but a lot of people do not realise that Bedford has a brewery," said Mr Keen, Marston's marketing manager.

Charles Wells, which opened its first brewery in the town in 1876, is now concentrating on running more than 200 pubs across England and France.

Peter Wells, commercial director at Charles Wells, which is still based in the town, said the firm was "still very much a big part of Bedford".

"We are currently in the process of deciding upon a site for our new brewery, which will open in 2019," he said. "We've also committed £2.5m to develop and improve pubs in our estate over the next 12 months."

Image source, Charles Wells
Image caption,
Charles Wells first brewery opened on the towns river in 1876 and has since been demolished

The Eagle Brewery currently makes Eagle, Bombardier, Courage and Young's bitter.

Marston's said one of the reasons they bought the brewery is because they are able to can beers on site, which was something they "could not do" at any of their other breweries.

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