Dorset’s Badger Brewery, owned by the Hall & Woodhouse chain, next month opens the doors on a £750 000 visitor centre in a bid to boost its profile as a tourist attraction.
The development at Blanford, designed by RTKL UK, boasts an exhibition space telling the story of the Badger Brewery, a shop, bar, restaurant with seating for 50 people and conference facilities. It will serve as the starting point for brewery tours.
RTKL UK designer Rupert Plumpton says a key objective of the revamp is to create an authentic ‘warts and all’ interior.
‘This is a working brewery that dates back to the 17th century, so we don’t want something that looks new and out of place,’ Plumpton adds.
Converted from Victorian maltings, the interior deliberately emphasises architectural features by exposing brickwork, timber and cast-iron machinery. RTKL’s plans also include a contemporary chandelier created from 200 Badger Brewery beer bottles.
Building work began in May and involved demolishing the low-ceilinged first and second floors to create a spacious and airy interior. A steel and glass stairway has been added to link the ground floor with the upper level bar.
Plans to upgrade kitchen facilities have been put on ice owing to budget constraints, according to Plumpton.
‘Development of a new training kitchen for staff working at other pubs owned by Hall & Woodhouse will follow at a later date, because we want to concentrate on getting the visitor centre absolutely right,’ he adds.
RTKL UK was appointed in April, following recommendation for its work with UCI Cinemas.