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New multi-million pound brewery for Chapel Down's Curious Drinks

Published:  02 August, 2016

Chapel Down has completed the exchange of contracts on a 1.6-acre site to further develop its beer and cider business.

The leading English sparkling winery has secured the site in Ashford town centre for the development of a brewery for its growing premium beer and cider business, Curious Drinks.

Planning submissions have now been made for a state-of-the-art brewery and visitor attraction in Ashford, Kent.

The new Curious Brewery was partly funded through crowd funding and the campaign, which closed in February, attracted 895 investors.

Frazer Thompson, Chapel Down CEO, said: "The Curious Brewery will be a very exciting development for Ashford, for Kent and contemporary British brewing. We've had tremendous support from Ashford Borough Council and are looking forward to working with architects, Guy Hollaway, and developers, U+I, to create something exceptional."

The company said that Curious Drinks saw impressive sales growth of 50% in 2015, with demand being driven from top-end restaurants, bars and hotels, as well as in the premium off-trade where Curious Brew lager is the best-selling British craft beer in Majestic Wine.

Guy Holloway Architects will be working alongside regeneration specialist and developer, U+I, to work on the multi-million pound brewery, part of a wider mixed-use regeneration project close to Ashford International train station.

Guy Hollaway, of Guy Hollaway Architects, added: "We are delighted to be working with clients, Chapel Down, and regeneration specialist and developer, U+I, to create a combined new brewery and destination experience. The new bespoke Curious Brewery is set to put Ashford on the map."

Earlier this year, Chapel Down Group Plc raised £1.7m through a Seedrs equity crowdfunding campaign and share placing for Curious Drinks.

Almost a third of investments came from Curious Drinks' home county of Kent.

Launched in 2011, the Curious Drinks range comprises Curious Brew, a lager re-fermented with Champagne yeast, Curious IPA and Curious Porter, which uses winemaker's oak to sweeten traditionally bitter English Porter ale.