After just 2.5 years, Gweilo Beer has outgrown its agreement to contract brew at another location.
After a decade of growth, signs are beginning to show that America might be approaching a new level of craft brewery saturation. But in some more far-flung parts of the world, the craft beer movement is only just gaining steam. Take Hong Kong, for instance: Launched just two and a half years ago, Gweilo Beer—one of only a small number of brewers located on the densely populated island—is already slated to open a new facility, set to become the region's largest craft brewery.
The new $5 million, 14,000-square-foot brewery, which is currently under construction in Fo Tan, is expected to open next summer, according to South China Morning Post. Gweilo was founded in 2015 by a group of British expats who dreamt up the idea for the brand (co-founder Ian Jebbitt says the name, which is a formerly unflattering word for expats, literally came to him in a dream) and began running the "brewery" out of a spare bedroom. Without its own facility, the company reached out to another Hong Kong brewery to contract brew their lineup of three beers, but Jebbitt says they've since outgrown that producer's capacity. "Demand for Gweilo beer is seriously high and for the past year we've been at maximum capacity and can't make any extra beer," the homebrewer and former intellectual property lawyer told the Morning Post. "We've always dreamed of having our own brewery and now we're in a position to do that."
Jebbitt explained that it's not just his brewery that's growing. The entire craft beer scene is gaining momentum. Last month, Hong Kong's largest annual craft beer festival, Beertopia, had around 12,000 visitors who could try over 500 different beers from 40 different brewers, 15 of which are local to the island. "Every year it's grown," Jebbitt said of the event that first launched in 2012, "interest is massively on the rise – which is good as it shows the interest in craft beers."