Brewery's farm move shortens the journey from barley to beer

Wildcraft Brewery director Mike Deal with some of his firm's beers, now brewed at Worstead Farms

Wildcraft Brewery director Mike Deal with some of his firm's beers, now brewed at Worstead Farms - Credit: Sonya Duncan

A growing Norfolk brewery has relocated to the farm which supplies its barley - creating a super-local circular supply chain.

Wildcraft Brewery said its expanded new base at Worstead Farms, near North Walsham, will more than double its production capacity.

The Wildcraft Brewery team at their new base at Worstead Farms

The Wildcraft Brewery team at their new base at Worstead Farms - Credit: Sonya Duncan

This week, it brewed the first batches of beer using malted barley grown in the surrounding fields.

And the excess grains are fed back to the farm's Wagyu beef cattle, bred by farmer Bruce Paterson.

It is all part of a drive to improve environmental sustainability, reduce food miles and waste, and make best use of by-products - an ethos shared by the brewery and its new farm landlords.

Mike Deal, director and head brewer for Wildcraft, said: "The beautiful thing about being here is I am looking out the back of the brewery and I can see the fields of grain being grown for us.

"I can use the grain to make our beer, the spare grain goes back to feed the cattle and they can then fertilise the fields for the next crop [of barley]. It is a complete circle.

Wagyu beef cattle on the Worstead Estate

Wagyu beef cattle on the Worstead Estate - Credit: Chris Hill

"Every little thing can be used. Our grains go off to feed the cattle, and we are looking at the yeast going off for feed use as well. The hops we often give to allotments because they are very rich in nitrogen so they can fertilise the plants."

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The brewery was founded in 2016 with the ethos of foraging as many ingredients as possible, buying locally and being environmentally-friendly.

But it outgrew its previous base at Buxton, and now the new brewery at Worstead has boosted its production capacity from 750 litres to 2,000 litres per brew.

Wildcraft Brewery has moved to Worstead Farms

Wildcraft Brewery has moved to Worstead Farms - Credit: Sonya Duncan

"When we first set up we wanted to be a really sustainable brewery, off grid if possible, using reed bed technology to recycle all our water, and using solar power," said Mr Deal.

"The place we were using was great place to start, but it didn't have the size or capacity for us to move forward. We supplied our grains to Worstead for their cattle and they have got a similar outlook to us, so we got talking."

Mr Deal said the growing microbrewery now employs six people and is expanding its customer base of 150 pubs and small retailers across Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, taking on new wholesalers in Essex and the Midlands.

Wildcraft director Mike Deal inside the brewery's new production facility at Worstead Farms

Wildcraft director Mike Deal inside the brewery's new production facility at Worstead Farms - Credit: Sonya Duncan