A HOME-GROWN microbrewery and distillery run by a chemist father and son is to expand.
Zoo Brewery will move to a new, larger building beside its current unit at Capel Hendre Industrial Estate, near Ammanford, Carmarthenshire.
It will have 30 parking spaces and house a cafe, shop and office space, as well as the microbrewery and distillery. Carmarthenshire Council’s planning department has just approved the new building, subject to conditions.
Robert Prigmore, who is a director along with his son Alex, said the new building would have around ten times as much space as the current facility and could cost in the region of £1 million to complete, including new equipment.
Zoo Brewery, which has three-and-a-half full-time equivalent staff, brews three beers – Towy Tiger, Amman Eagle and Merlin’s Own – and makes gin, rum and vodka.
Mr Prigmore said the rum range would be expanded and whisky added to the portfolio. The first batch of whisky will be ready three years after it is distilled.
“If everything goes to plan, we’ll end up adding another 10 people in the medium term,” he said.
The shop will have botanical extracts which customers can test before blending their own gin and vodka – something he said was popular among couples planning their wedding. He hopes to source malt barley from local Welsh suppliers as time goes on. Much of it currently comes from Scottish farms.
Zoo Brewery was launched in 2019 and Mr Prigmore – a chemist by training who set up an environmental and engineering consultancy called ExCAL Ltd – said its products sold by word of mouth. He added that the beer was now being purchased by food and drink wholesaler Castell Howell.
Mr Prigmore said the retail and hospitality market was still challenging due to the impact of Covid.
He said his daughter Eleanor was running the consultancy while he focused more on the brewery and distillery.
Speaking about the beers and spirits he makes from scratch, he said:
“It’s the quality of the product. When people try it, it sells itself.”