Alcohol farm

Non-alcoholic and carbon neutral brewery near Abergavenny

Plans to found one of the world’s first carbon-neutral, alcohol-free breweries in Monmouthshire have been met with mixed reaction.

Craft brewer Drop Bear Beer Co, the first woman-owned non-alcoholic brewery in the UK, has tabled plans to build its brewery on a farm near Abergavenny.

The brewery’s founders, Joelle Drummond and Sarah McNena, want it to become the first non-alcoholic brewery in Wales and the first carbon neutral brewery in the world, according to a planning statement.

Plans include changing the use of an agricultural building, with the brewery occupying the majority of the building as well as offices, a cold room and a water treatment area.

However, since being lodged with the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, the plans have had mixed reception, although the developers say the response has been “overwhelmingly positive”.

READ MORE: Drop Bear Beer Co plans ‘world’s first’ carbon-neutral brewery

One resident said the proposal would be “very detrimental to the surrounding area”.

“It’s not in keeping with the region and absolutely not in a national park,” they said.

“There are many empty industrial units nearby that could house these plans, not on this site, causing many adverse effects for many years to come. It’s just ridiculous.”

Another resident said he feared the development would lead to more large vehicles using the section of the A40.

“It’s already dangerous along this stretch due to the number of bends and the amount of traffic, especially in the summer,” they said.

“The speed limit is 60 mph which is excessive when trying to get out of one of the blind spots that lead to this road.”

However, others supported the plans.

One resident said the development would be ‘a major coup for the Abergavenny and Monmouthshire area in positioning itself as the food capital of Wales’.

Others said the plans would also bring an increase in employment to the area, with six full-time staff and the same number of part-time staff expected to be employed when fully operational.

The brewery will be “a significant local investment” and will be “not only important for South East Wales but for our country as a whole”, says a comment in support of the proposal.

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A spokesperson for Drop Bear Beer Co said the company “categorically denies that our app violates the context of the national park.”

“Our proposal is not to construct a new structure but to sympathetically convert an existing farm building, and we believe that any concerns regarding the visual appearance of the proposed brewery are subjective,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added: “We have spoken and listened to the local community about our plans, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.”

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