The fully automated equipment from Borelli of Italy will enable the brewery to expand and produce 1,000 labelled bottles per hour. Suprima Service of Ipswich will manage the £80,000 project, which includes commissioning and installation.
“We were keen to acquire a bottling line to increase production of our alcohol-free real ale, Hopsta, which we released late last year,” said Martin James, head brewer.
“Although we have had a lot of enquiries about supplying national supermarkets and even exporting our ale in bottles, we have until now been unable to meet their requirements.
“We are keen to continue the heritage of brewing in Reepham and this expansion will allow us to do so for many years to come.”
The new equipment will also be used to undertake contract bottling for other local breweries, which will create more job opportunities at Panther Brewery.
The funding valued at £27,000 (40% of the project’s cost) was obtained from the Rural Development Programme of Norfolk via the Wensum and Coast Local Action Group, which enables businesses and organisations to undertake projects that support job creation and/or economic growth in the North Norfolk area.
“We are excited to say that our application was the first to be approved this year,” said Mr James.
Panther Brewery has also launched a new initiative to support local pubs by introducing a loyalty scheme for publicans. Participating pubs will be given the opportunity to redeem rewards varying in size and value.