London’s Partizan Brewing Expands into New Facility, Doubles Capacity

Austin Ray
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THE GIST
Partizan Brewing, which has been brewing in Bermondsey, South London since 2012, has almost completed a move that will allow it to double capacity from 1,500 to 3,000 barrels annually. Its former home, which consisted of two refurbished railway arches, will become occupied by two separate breweries: Affinity Brew Co., which makes a move down from Tottenham, North London, and newcomer Spartan Brewing. The latter expects to be open by January 2018.

WHY IT MATTERS
In March 2016, GBH wrote about the explosive growth in London’s brewing industry over the past decade. At the time, London’s brewery count had just topped 80. But now, barely 18 months later, the recent opening of House Brewery in Wood Green, North London is number 106.

Brewery openings are just part of this story, though, as London’s modern brewing scene continues to expand apace. Recently we’ve seen Pressure Drop Brewing relocate from its 5-BBL system in Hackney, East London to a brand new 20-BBL facility plus taproom in Tottenham, right next door to the well-established Beavertown Brewery. Beavertown itself has expanded so much that it recently invested in a fleet of new tanks for its friends at Redchurch Brewery. Redchurch will produce Beavertown’s flagship session IPA Neck Oil until the latter can find a location to complete another expansion—its fourth since opening in 2012. Another London brewery, Fourpure, recently eschewed plans to build a larger, out-of-town facility and instead invested £2 million ($2.6m) in expanding capacity at its existing South London site. 

While Partizan’s own expansion doesn't boast the impressive numbers of those above, it’s no less significant due to what this will allow the small brewery to achieve. Partizan, which started out by producing beer on a 5-BBL kit inherited from its neighbors The Kernel, has never been a business that craved the limelight, so this expansion might come as a surprise to some.

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“The major upsides are more tank space, so we won’t have 70% of our tanks dedicated to Pale and IPA, hopefully meaning we can brew other things,” founder Andy Smith says. “The new tanks will allow us to purge the hops with inert gas and drop them straight into the tank even while under pressure meaning much less oxygen pickup. It’s a good feeling!”

Partizan will be adding its first automated packaging line and a new taproom to its facility as well as employing an additional staff member. The new facility will still be located in an area known colloquially as “The Bermondsey Beer Mile,” moving just a few yards from its former home on Almond Street to the nearby Raymouth Road. With the addition of Spartan and Affinity, Bermondsey will now have nine active breweries—more than any other London borough. 

“We had no plans at all to move south, and it's a real bind to leave Tottenham,” Affinity’s Ben Duckworth tells GBH. “But when we heard about the availability of this place it was too good to turn down.”

“It's a wonderful time to be a beer drinker in London,” he adds. “And to see some of our favorite breweries getting the recognition and expansion they deserve.”

Smith, who also began his career in Tottenham brewing for Redemption Brewery, shares Duckworth’s enthusiasm, especially for his local scene. 

“The blends the Kernel have been putting out from the foeders are unbelievably good,” he says. “Anytime Brew By Number drops anything, my eyes tend to pop out of my head quite some distance. The quality there is the best it’s ever been and they can match anyone, UK or USA, for quality with anything hoppy.”

—Matthew Curtis