Thanks go to Jon Elks, Head Brewer, Everards who hosted a BFBi member tour of the new brewery on 26th April 2022.
Everards was founded in 1849 by William Everard, who expanded the farm via the purchase of a brewery on Southgate Street, Leicester.
In 1875 the brewery was rebuilt as a tower brewery by John Everard and 1862 saw the first pub, The Elephant & Castle added to the business. Thomas Everard grew the pub estate, together with the expansion into Burton via Burton Bridge Brewery.
Sir Lindsey Everard encountered a particularly challenging time period, with raised alcohol taxes; restrictions in opening hours and, in 1932, the Southgate Street brewery closed.
Tony Everard reflected the cultural movement towards family friendly pubs, changing the pub estate name to Everards Friendly Inns.
1970 saw the launch of Everards’ best known beer – Tiger and, in 1985, the old Castle Acres brewery opened.
The current Chairman, Richard Everard, joined the brewery in 1977, becoming Chairman in 1988.
The new brewery is located in 90 acres of privately owned land – Everard Acres – made available to the community. 3% of profits from the brewery are returned to the community via charity and local group donations. Charlotte and Julian Everard are the latest generation to join the family brewery.
Jon joined Everards in 2019, previously working with Carlsberg at Northampton for 18 years.
The new brewery had its first mash around 12 months ago. The brewery is run on a split shift system, with automated processing from dry goods through to racking vessels. The brewery has the capacity to produce 2 brews per day on a 4 day brewing week.
The yeast handling area has the ability to produce spent yeast as a by product for sale. The Everards yeast culture has proven to be pretty much indestructible during covid and propagates every 8-12 weeks.
The brewery is predominantly an ale brewery but is producing a range of lagers, including a Vienna lager and, soon to be brewed, Helles.
The brewery makes Nitrogen and uses this for purging. 12 fermentation vessels are installed, with the ability to use 4 as cold storage, ranging in size from 50hl and 100hl.
At the point of the visit, the brewery was back at 89% of its March 2019 production volume, with the move towards spring and summer weather reflecting an upturn in production and supply to pubs via their dedicated dray contractor.
Large pack formats range from mini casks and kegs to keg and cask. Together with the mini keg filler, is a combined cask and keg set up..
Smallpack is produced via the new IC Fillings botting machine (currently running at 350 bottles/hour), which also has the capacity to fill cans.
CIP is delivered via 2 caustic tanks; one hot, one ambient. Together with 2 effluent tanks.
The new laboratory boasts equipment from Anton Paar; autoclave; water testing and deioniser
The pilot plant, manufactured by Pureweld, used to train and test new brews, will, ultimately, be made available to the public in order to brew special occasion beers. The next test of the pilot kit is via the IBD Young Members brew day, where the results will be consumed at the IBD Midland Section Dinner in June, Burton upon Trent.
The Everards Beer Hall is a superb addition to the brewery, acting as a community hub, showcasing the wide range of beers, food and other drinks.
Thank you Jon for a great tour!