A WIRRAL brewery has expanded the size of its factory to meet the demands of a surge in business growth.

Peerless Brewing Company has installed a new energy efficient 30 brewers' barrel plant at its premises in Birkenhead. 

Its aim is to slash costs as the firm builds on the success of its championship cask-conditioned ale brands.

Last year, the firm was hailed top North West brewer in the region's toughest beer challenge - the Society of Independent Brewers' beer competition - scooping five top accolades, including two gold medals.

This success led to a surge in demand for the eight-strong core cask ale range, which has enjoyed sales growth at 30 per cent year-on-year since start up in 2010.

The expansion is backed by Barclays Bank and Invest Wirral.

The expansion increases weekly production capacity from 17,590 pints or 10,000 litres to 35,190 pints (20,000 litres) or from 60 to 120 brewer's barrels, with further expansion possible through additional fermentation tanks.

Attending the plant's launch event were Roger Protz, one of the world's leading beer writers and editor of the renowned Camra Good Beer Guide.

Managing director Steve Briscoe said: "Our ambitious expansion comes as the cask ale sector is seeing healthy growth, with pub goers increasingly seeking beers with quality and provenance.

"We plan to grow with this market as publicans find our beers offer what they want – well balanced cask ales with that that extra flavour and drinkability.

"This major decision to expand followed further testimony last year from our peers at SIBA that we are brewing some of the very best cask ale in the UK.

"A business review concluded that a modern brew-house would not only increase capacity but cut production costs with the new brew-house funded from these efficiencies."

Roger Protz said: "Peerless is a brilliant brewing success story.

"Under Steve Briscoe's guidance, it has grown from five to 25 barrels brew length in five years and has become a major force on Merseyside.

"The beers are of the highest quality, including the standout Full Whack and Oatmeal Stout and the amazing new Fusion that uses no fewer than 10 different hop varieties. Peerless proves that beers with flavour are on today's drinkers' lips."