BBI West Country Visit

The final visits of the BBI calendar for 2012 were to the West Country, firstly to see the recently acquired site at Tiverton for Aston Manor and then following an overnight stopover a visit to St Austell Brewery.


Aston Manor Brewery

The Tiverton operation was acquired by Aston Manor in 2009, the site originally set up by Whitbread in 1966, has had a number of owners and leaseholders such as Thomas Hardy, Devon Cider and Taunton Cider.

Graham Goslett, Packaging Manager, hosted the tour and talked through the facility. When Aston Manor acquired the site, it had a fairly new PET line, based on a Krones Contiform blower, new OCME tray and shrinkwrapper, CBI Palletiser, Krones labeller and filler. This line is running extremely well filling the whole range of Aston Manor products in 2 litre Constar bottles together with a number of their Contract Customers.

When Paul Clifford the Operations Director of Aston Manor, discussed with the Board, the idea of putting in a canning line, the decision to go for the idea was approved very quickly, and Paul made an offer to acquire one of the lines that was coming out of the Reading Brewery. The line needed quite a lot of work doing to it to bring it up to scratch, and this was achieved in very quick time.

A high level reconditioned can depalletiser was installed by TT Optimal, the KHS filler and Ferrum seamer were fully reconditioned, as was the Sidel pasteuriser. Walsall Engineering did much of the project work and revamping of the conveyor systems Some new items of equipment were put in such as a Heuft Spectrum TX, Sismatico can dryer and most recently a Logik Emmeti robotic palletiser supplied through Enterprise Tondelli and Atlanta pallet stretch wrapper.

Aston Manor Tiverton were one of the first in the UK to install the ITW Hi-Cone multipacker, which has the ability to face all the cans in a pack format that offers full presentation of the can dress facing forwards.

Aston Manor are now the second largest cider maker in the UK, with around 20% market share, still a privately owned company, with strong family values, they have created a really strong operation in their two main filling facilities at Tiverton and in Birmingham and have very ambitious plans for the future.

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St Austell Brewery

The BBI delegates then departed for Padstow, where Roger Ryman, Brewery Director of St Austell hosted a wonderful dinner party, introducing a number of St Austell's award winning beers with each course of food, a brilliant concept that was enjoyed by all.

St Austell Brewery has been one of the shining lights of regional UK brewing in recent times. Still with its routes firmly in Cornwall with a large array of Hotels and Pubs, the company have carefully spread its wings into retail getting listings in some of the major retailers.

St Austell has gone through a number of significant changes since Roger Ryman joined the Brewery in 1999. The first task for Roger was to create a number of new beers, such as Tribute, Proper Job, Admiral's Ale, Korev Lager, a true Cornish Lager, and the awards that have been received for the brews continue to grow, there were two Silver Awards at this year's BBI competition.

In 2009, St Austell went back into bottling installing a brand new Kosme line, that included a Kosme bulk glass depalletiser, Kosme Adhesive, labeller, Kosme filling bloc and Cheops shrinkwrapper. The filling tanks and filtration system was installed at the same time by Moravek.

At the time of the BBI Visit, a brand new 2.5m Microdat cask racking plant was being installed, which will allow St Austell to double their cask filling capacity up to 200,000 barrels a year. This brings the total investment over the past seven years to over 6m. The new plant also features solar panels and heat recovery and low energy lighting, making the building self sufficient in its electricity usage.

The general housekeeping of the equipment at St Austell is really excellent, the Kosme bottling line looks exactly the same as when it was installed two years ago.

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Both visits were really informative, our hosts looked after the BBI delegates magnificently.