Carlsberg UK added a new bottling plant to its Northampton brewery in March 2013.
The new plant is located on the south-east end of the Northampton brewery site.
Sidel was awarded the contract to supply equipment for the plant.

Carlsberg UK, the fourth largest brewer in the United Kingdom, expanded its Northampton brewery with the addition of a bottling plant in March 2013. Named as Carlsberg Cube, the facility is part of a £60m ($90m) development undertaken at the Northampton site.

The new plant will bottle Carlsberg’s Tuborg, Carlsberg and San Miguel beers. The plant has a capacity of 60,000 bottles of beer an hour. It can bottle upto ten million bottles per year at maximum speed. The total investment on the project is estimated at £25m ($37m). It has generated 30 new jobs in the region.

Carlsberg’s Northampton brewery expansion

Carlsberg’s Northampton plant is located near the River Nene and has been operating since the 1970s. The plant is located in the south-east end of the site. It is the first facility to be built in the Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone.

The government announced the creation of the zone in 2011 as part of a development plan aimed at regenerating nearly 120ha of disused land located along the river front.

Details of the Carlsberg Cube project

“The new plant will bottle Carlsberg’s Tuborg, Carlsberg and San Miguel beers.”

Construction of the new plant is the second expansion undertaken by Carlsberg at the Northampton site.

In October 2011, Carlsberg invested £40m to increase brewing capacity from 4.5 million hectolitres to 6.1 million hectolitres. It involved the addition of a third canning line and an environmental programme introduced to conserve energy and reduce waste.

Carlsberg built the new facility as part of its strategy to consolidate production into a few sites and improve its supply chain infrastructure. The company no longer needs to transport its products for bottling at its operations in France, Glasgow and Cumbria. This will not only improve Carlsberg’s supply chain infrastructure, but also save 1.5 million road trips annually.

The project was approved by the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation in February 2012. It has integrated the company’s bottling operations into one site.

Bottling plant design and processing method / equipment

The Northampton plant is spread across an area of 7,000m² (75,000ft²). It has been designed to be energy efficient and exceeds UK efficiency regulations by six percent.

“Carlsberg invested £40m to increase brewing capacity from 4.5 million hectolitres to 6.1 million hectolitres.”

The environmental impacts of the plant have also been minimised by including a 3,000l rain water harvesting tank. The plant also includes a car park and related offices.

All the equipment at the new plant is part of the bottling line at Carlsberg’s Leeds plant, which was closed in 2011. The bottling line can handle 300 millilitre bottles and is fitted with a modular SL90 labeler, which can carry out labelling at very high speeds.

The bottling operations at the plant are similar to those of Carlsberg’s plants in France, Glasgow and Cumbria. Empty bottles arriving at the plant are filled and pasteurised. The bottles are then labelled and packed for transport. The new plant provides Carlsberg with flexibility to handle bottles of different sizes and packaging styles.

Contractors for Carlsberg’s new facility

Caddick Construction was awarded a £7.2m ($10.8m) contract to design the new plant. Sidel was awarded a contract to supply a partial bottling line and space saving equipment. It also supplied the complete line-control system and conveying solution for the bottling line.

Intu-Tech applied Jotun Hardtop AS protective coating for all the steel work at the plant. It also installed Metal Stud and plaster board wall lining system.

UK’s beer consumption and market challenges

Carlsberg UK, part of the Carlsberg Group, holds nearly 16% of the UK’s beer market share. The UK market witnessed a decrease of five percent in overall consumption of beer in 2011. Carlsberg was able to increase its sales despite this decrease.

Increases in raw material prices, taxes on beer and uncertain economic conditions have created challenging conditions in the beer market. In addition, consumers constantly change their drinking habits and prefer new and exotic brands.

To counter these challenges, Carlsberg has adopted a proactive strategy to introduce new products to the market. This strategy requires flexibility and integration of new packaging designs and formats into the company’s bottling lines.

Integration of Carlsberg’s bottling operations into one location provides Carlsberg with such flexibility.

Related content

AG Barr New Manufacturing Facility, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom

AG Barr, a drinks producer and manufacturer based in the United Kingdom, is building a new bottle manufacturing and warehouse facility in Milton Keynes’s Magna Park.

Britvic Soft Drinks Bottling Plant, Rugby, United Kingdom

Britvic Soft Drinks, one of the largest soft drinks packaging companies in the UK, expanded its packaging operations at its Rugby, UK, facility in the third quarter of 2004.