Woodforde’s FIFTY TWO° NORTH official launch
Woodforde’s officially launched its exciting new craft collection, FIFTY TWO°NORTH, at the recent BrewLDN Festival.
Forty years since the foundation of a pioneering new brewery in Norfolk, Woodforde’s has been investing in its brewing capacity and range. The result is an exciting selection of beers under its new brand, FIFTY TWO°NORTH.
The name draws on the brewery’s geographical coordinates, but it not exact, because – in the words of master brewer Neil Bain: “I was given a little more ‘latitude’ with creating this range of beers. So, we’re not just talking about brewery location with the name of FIFTY TWO° NORTH.”
“I may have taken liberties with the latitude extended to me for these beers,” says Neil, “but the trials were met with great enthusiasm by the team here, and we’re really proud to see the end results now in mini-kegs, small pack and – importantly as pubs open back up – on tap.”
The beer range merges New World hop flavours and aromas with traditional ale and lager characters, and includes:
West Coast Wherry American Amber (4.2%) – A mouth-watering combination of Norfolk’s legendary Maris Otter malt and American hops. Doffs its cap to Woodforde’s flagship ale, Wherry.
Norada Pale Ale (4.3%) – An aromatic pale ale named after the Norada racing wherry that has graced the Broads for a century. This elegant beer cuts a clean, satisfying finish.
Voltage Session IPA (4.5%) – Full of energy, session IPA charged with a blast of tropical, citrus, floral and pine hop character, and a dry bitterness to finish.
Conquest Imperial Lager (4.5%) – A new take on imperial, with its sessionable ABV, this is a ‘proper’ lager, matured for 21 days, bursting with modern hop varieties that give it a contemporary twist; light, refreshing and thirst-quenching.
Bringing a taste of Norfolk to London
The FIFTY TWO° NORTH team and range were at BrewLDN last month, delivering the taste of Norfolk with an American twist.
Joe Parks, Woodforde’s CEO, was raring to get back to in-person events: “After all this time, it’s great to be exhibiting at real life events again. And it’s extra exciting for us, given that we’ve brought the FIFY TWO° NORTH range there – bringing some Norfolk love to London.
“Festival attendees got the chance to try Conquest, Norada, West Coast Wherry & Voltage for the first time – and we were delighted with the feedback, especially around drinkability. We can’t wait to hear more people’s views, and speak to potential stockists as we get out and about more.
From norfolk with love
Neil Bain has enjoyed perfecting the new recipes, and blending the brewery’s experience with new world hops and flavours.
“When Woodforde’s started life, back in 1981, we were among the first in the new wave of craft brewers, a wave that has now taken on huge momentum. Our focus has been mainly on cask, which done well, undoubtedly comes under the craft banner. Even with all the choice around, our Wherry, a zesty light amber ale, and Nog, a dark bitter full of roast malt flavours, have remained favourites among pubs in Norfolk.
“It’s a brewer’s paradise to have the opportunity to create new beers at the same time as upholding the legacy of much-loved classic beers. We have had huge fun experimenting with hop varieties, while using barley grown and malted in Norfolk – and famous among craft beers worldwide.
But ultimately, the proof of refreshment is in the drinking. Over to you.”
1996 – Picking up the Pace
3 years on from our first bottle-conditioned beers being sold (thanks to Howard Miller!), you could buy Woodforde’s Home Brew Kits in Boots, developed by Muntons.
If you were at the Great British Beer festival that August, you may also remember Wherry Bitter becoming CAMRA’s Champion Beer of Britain, and then Supreme Champion Beer of Britain… Well that award resulted in a huge demand for Wherry, with our brewery soon operating at maximum capacity, and annual production exceeding 5,000 barrels!
2001 – Millennium Madness
A year on from Woodforde’s cask and bottled beer touching down in the USA, the Woodforde’s Club was established (remember that?).
Our first website also went live, which included an online shop. Bottles were rebranded, alongside new pump clips with gold framing! Definitely a great start to the millennium.
2002/2003… The Big Brewery Expansion (Part 1!)
Look, we don’t want to bore you with the numbers, but this was huge. The farm isolation unit was demolished, and in its place the new brewery shop with offices and a boardroom above was built.
Okay fine – we’ll bore you with the numbers. 4 x 60 barrel and 2 x 120 barrel stainless steel square fermenters were added from A. B. UK in Doncaster, and 2 x external water storage tanks, and 2 x racking tanks were installed on the mezzanine floor.
A new malt room was also created where the original shop had been, and a new Alan Ruddock 4 x roller grain mill, together with a new conveyor system and outside grain silo was also added into the mix.
2007/2008 – The Big Brewery Expansion (Part 2)
and Trips to Glastonbury!
In 07, sales increased by a record 34%(!) to over 13,000 barrels. Since signing a 5-year contract in 2004 with Glastonbury, we returned for our third year as a main supplier of cask ale, with a bigger team and a bigger order!
We were also chosen to be one of the first suppliers of bottle-conditioned beers for M&S, and a second water borehole was installed at the brewery (which we still use to this day!)
And the big one – the expansion. We purchased and installed some brand-spanking new equipment, including a mash tun with automated grain removal! The new brewhouse was also commissioned, with the first brew of Wherry Bitter taking place on Feb 1st 2008, with total investment in the new brewhouse and site exceeding £2.5 million!
2014 – The Ale Trail, and a General Upgrade!
A new project to install an automated bottle line was confirmed, and to develop national and international beer sales.
We also launched a new website, and a Woodforde’s app to support the Ale Trail, which allowed participants to not just find nearby pubs, but also collect their trail stickers via QR code – and it even worked in areas with no signal (believe us, that certainly came in useful in rural Norfolk…)
2012 – End of the World for Some, Not Us!After production exceeded 20,000 barrels (not a typo!) the year before, and with us also having won Champion Brewery of East Anglia thanks to readers of The Morning Advertiser, we were extremely privileged to win the EDP’s Pride of Norfolk award. Being recognised for our commitment to being Norfolk born and brewed was a huge feat for us, and we still consider it one of our greatest achievements.
2018/2019 – On the Ball, CityIn recognition of our commitment to Norfolk, we commenced a 5 year sponsorship of Norwich City and the famous Barclay Stand, giving supporters a taste of Wherry and Norada to the club’s bars and kiosks. The following year, our new IPA, Volt, won Gold at the International Brewing Awards – arguably one of the most prestigious awards in brewing around the world! It was launched in bottles the following year, and quickly became part of our core range. So, that’s where we’ve come from! But where are we heading? Well, since you asked… Even as the world shut down, we carried on as best as we could to bring you a taste of comfort.
Since the launch of our Adder Cyder and FIFTYTWO° NORTH range we’ve seen a lot of love for something a bit different, but don’t worry, we’ll always keep Wherry close to our heart; In fact close to yours too, Wherry can now be found in almost all big supermarkets by the bottle, in a can, a mini keg or in one of our brew kits!
A huge thanks to every single person who has supported us so far, and here’s to raising a glass to the next 40 years!