Conwy Brewery

Pride of wales

Founded in 2003 by husband and wife team, Gwynne and Adele Thomas, Conwy Brewery is a Welsh brewing company with a proud heritage and full range of high quality cask and bottled ales

When the Conwy Brewery was officially incorporated on 17th February 2003, it became the first brewery in Conwy for over 100 years and was proud to celebrate its tenth anniversary milestone in 2013. The brewery specialises in both cask and bottle conditioned ales of the highest quality, offering perhaps the best range of ales in North Wales. The company is presently based at its modern premises in Llysfaen, where it has installed a new 25BBl brewery designed by Brendan Dobbin, the brewing engineer behind the Firkin brewpubs. “The Conwy Brewery started in a small industrial unit within Conwy, where it supplied the immediate town and local markets with around 2000 to 3000 pints a week,” explains Head Brewer, Gwynne Thomas. “We are now based in our third brewery site, which is a much larger 25-barrel brewery with the ability to produce on average of 30,000 pints per week. The company has grown tenfold during the past 12 years and we are now supplying the whole of Wales, including many of the major supermarkets, pubs and freehouses.”

During June 2015, Conwy Brewery celebrated the award of a contract to supply Co-operative food store in Wales with over 40,000 pints of ale. Research undertaken by The Co-operative Food shows that the UK has become a nation of ‘real ale converts’, with consumers now four times more likely to choose real ale products over mass-produced beer and 71 per cent of drinkers indicating that it is important to find and enjoy locally brewed varieties. Commenting on the award of the contract Gwynne said: “The award of this project is fantastic news, this is our first listing of this scale with a convenience retailer and it opens up new markets for us. We are delighted that The Co-operative shares our passion for local real ales and is now stocking three of our ales including our best selling Welsh Pride. We pride ourselves on taste and quality and we know this approach is shared by The Co-operative.”

Suits all tastes
Clogwyn Gold, Rampart and Welsh Pride are all currently playing a role in The Co-operative’s move to alter the way the company sells real ale by offering specially selected beers from breweries based near to its local stores. Throughout its range, Conwy Brewery produces a comprehensive range of 16 cask and bottle conditioned ales across four distinctive brands. Quality is at the heart of the company’s ethos and Conwy uses soft water from the mountains of Snowdonia, malts from Bairds of Lincolnshire and hops from around the world. No artificial ingredients are used and all Conwy beers are naturally carbonated with no filtering or pasteurisation and the company’s beers are all suitable for vegetarians. “We offer an extensive range of beers with which we try to satisfy a wide variety of tastes. We have lighter, more easy-going beers like Clogwyn Gold at ABV 4 per cent, which is a nice golden, while we also offer Welsh Pride ABV 4.3 per cent beer that is brewed as a bitter variety of ale,” Gwynne elaborates. “We also offer options like our darker, full-bodied Rampart ale, which is ABV 4.8 per cent. We brew a good selection of beers that offer something to suit all tastes, for example, we also brew a beer called Honey Fayre ale at ABV 4.8 per cent, which is something of a hybrid ale that appeals to lager drinkers with its light, easy-going flavour.”

The range of Conwy Brewery brands is comprised of its Conwy ales, which represent its popular flagship beers that are designed to have broad appeal and are available all year; Seasonal ales including speciality beers that are available at different times of year; the West Coast range, which showcases the brewery’s modern beers; and Small batch brew that includes new beer styles, new hops or even classic archived brews. This extensive selection of beers has allowed Conwy Brewery to work with many of the major supermarkets and local businesses throughout Wales. “We work with most of the major supermarkets within Wales including the Co-operative as well as Tesco, ASDA, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, M&S and Morrisons. All of these businesses have a reasonably strong presence within Wales and are keen to stock local beers as a response to consumer expectations and this is reflected in local pubs as well,” Gwynne exclaims. “Pubs have increasingly moved to stock more locally brewed beers in line with this wider trend.”

To accommodate the growing interest in its range of beers, Conwy has moved between three brewing sites throughout its history. The company has also recently invested in new equipment at its current Llysfaen location to both increase production and ensure that the facility will be able to continue to support the business for years to come. “We have recently invested in a stateof- the-art labeller, which has enabled us to increase our output by around 50 per cent when compared to our older bottling equipment. Prior to that we moved to our current site around three years ago, which effectively enabled us to double the size of the brewery and to quadruple our warehousing space. We don’t intend to be a brewery that is ‘here today and gone tomorrow’ and will still be brewing here in ten to 20 years as a result of this investment,” Gwynne concludes. “During the next 12 months we will work to consolidate ourselves as a strong and leading brewer in Wales. We are a quality brewery and one of only three or four breweries in Wales to hold SALSA accreditation and we are keen to increase our association through companies like Red Letter Days and to look at the export market in the future.”