HEPWORTH Brewery hopes to triple its output when it moves into its new purpose built home, after an initial £3.5 million investment.

The medium micro-brewery has made a niche for itself producing high quality ale and lager from Sussex ingredients.

It has been based at the Railway Yard in Horsham for the past 15 years where it is able to produce 1.2 million litres of beer a year.

Operations are currently being moved over to its new two-acre site at Brinsbury College, near Pulborough, with plans to up production to 3.6 million litres a year.

As well as Hepworth’s brewing, bottling and cask operation, the site will also become home to three others brewers – Beer County Ltd, Goodwood and Laines Pub Company, the brewer and pub group founded and based in Brighton, which new Palace Pier owner has a stake in.

Hepworth is also building a visitor centre and shop at the A29 site, which will help boost the brewery’s headcount from 30 to 40.

The initial £3.5 million investment is part of a first phase, and is largely made up of a substantial grant from Coast to Capital LEP.

Co-founder and director Andy Hepworth said: “We’re not quite at capacity – we’re moving equipment over and we’re now in the finishing phase, going around doing the final fitting.

“This is the first phase of development, with the building and better services, the next phase will be to build up our brewing and packaging.

“Hopefully by the end of next year we will be at full capacity.”

Andy was head brewer at Horsham’s King and Barnes for 18 years but struck out in his own with four others when it was bought by Badger.

Andy said: “There were 60 breweries doing real ale, so we wanted to do things that others weren’t doing, something a bit specialist like lager and organic ale.”

As well as organic, Hepworth also unwittingly made gluten-free beer by using low-protein Sussex and meticulous brewing and malting, which in the breakdown of protein and fine filtration removes any residue.

Hepworth plan to introduce a new British-style IPA with Sussex hops, as well as increasing its exports beyond existing markets in Milan, Norway and Moscow.

On the state of the beer industry scene, Andy added: “The industry is finitely healthy state at the smaller craft end, though there’s probably too many at the moment.

“Brewing tends to be cyclical and tends to get bigger then smaller. But people are drinking better beer.”