A BREWERY is preparing for a new era as its new headquarters take shape.

Thwaites will break with over 200 years of tradition when they leave Blackburn and head to the Ribble Valley, where their new 12-acre £8million HQ is being built.

The new headquarters, in Mellor Brook, will feature a new heritage centre, brewery and stables for the firm’s famous shire horses Wainwright, Gunner and Ribble.

Head of estates John Draper said the old building was too big for purpose and the new facility on the A59 will provide a great new facility and help to futureproof the company for generations to come.

He said: “The old premises is too big for us and we were looking at opportunities either on a business park or in our own bespoke premises.

“Although it’s not in the borough of Blackburn, it’s very close and near to where some of the Thwaites family is buried but it’s an exciting time. We’ve organised staff trips to have a new look at the new offices and they are very much looking forward to moving in.

“The shire horses will also have a new home. They are a part of our tradition and people love seeing them when they go out.”

As well as the buildings, Thwaites will also manage the adjacent woodland to help the local environment thrive.

Head brewer Brian Yorston is overseeing the fitting out of the brewery building, which will produce craft ales such as Nutty Black, and produce 1.5million pints a year when it’s up to full capacity.

The old Star brewery on Penny Street will be demolished and flattened once Thwaites vacate the site later in the year and negotiations are ongoing with the council as to what will happen next with the site.

Thwaites chief executive officer Rick Bailey said: “It’s great to see this long-awaited project coming together. Every time I visit I can see real progress.

“The buildings are nearly complete and we are now starting to work on the internal fit-out.

“A lot of effort is going into the cottage, a listed building, where our heritage centre, tap room and training facility will be located.”

“We are retaining as many original features as possible, including the stone window mullions.

“Best of all our famous Thwaites Shire Horses are getting a new home too in an incredible custom-built English oak, super-sized American barn – we think that they are going to be very happy.

“The brewery is the most advanced part of the site – and we are already several weeks into installing our new craft brewery with the boiler and pipework already in.

“We will be moving into our new home in August. I know a lot of people are interested in what will happen to our current site once we move and we are in discussion with the council about the best use of the land going forward.”