The following year saw the purchase of Unit 20 at Downton, which facilitated additional storage space, desperately needed for bottle-conditioned products. The bottle-conditioned range was expanded when Taiphoon was bottled and marketed to off-licences and supermarket chains. In August, Summer Lighting was awarded a Bronze in the Strong Beer Category at GBBF in Olympia; this was the eleventh consecutive year in which Summer Lightning had been nominated at this event.

Meanwhile, Winter Lightning won its first award at the Salisbury Winterfest. In the spring of 2000, bottle-conditioned Crop Circle won the Tesco Spring Challenge; this meant that Crop Circle appeared nationally in all Tesco stores for 36 weeks. In August, Summer Lightning was awarded a Bronze in the Strong Bitters Category at GBBF, Olympia.

The installation of a new, larger capacity bottling line, together with a new copper and fermenter, to accommodate increasing demand for Hop Back bottle-conditioned and cask-conditioned products, was key development in 2001.

In June, Hop Back commenced the supply of cask-conditioned Summer Lightning to J D Wetherspoon on a nationwide basis, while the beer itself continued to win accolades, with Beer of the Festival at Plymouth Beerex, Overall Champion at Salisbury Beerex, Best Strong Beer by SIBA and one Gold and two Silver awards at GBBF.

Mr Phill Harding pours a swift pint at the Opening of the Duck
Mr Phill Harding pours a swift pint at the Opening of the Duck

From 2002 to 2005 the Hop Back pub estate continued to grow with the acquisition of The Dolphin in Weymouth, The Southgate in Devizes, Salisbury's The Duck Inn. and The Gluepot in Swindon.

In 2005 The Jolly Farmer lease was sold to Celtic Taverns. The beers continued to win awards, and were exported in cask form, albeit in relatively small quantities. Growth also came from listings in large "pub-co" estates such as Punch Taverns and particularly Enterprise Inns.

Award this year came from Tynemill pub Group with Summer Lightning getting Beer of the year. Volumes exceed 16,000 barrels

2006 sees the eighteenth birthday of Summer Lightning. There are further plans, not only to consolidate previous successes, but also to maintain the sure and steady growth the Hop Back Brewery prides itself on. There are plans a foot to add new acquisitions to the tied estate. Also keep your eyes open for a new continental style beer that is being researched and tested by our team.

The history of Hop Back is largely about starting from humble beginings as we all do; it has developed over time and will continue to go from strength to strength.

For the future we hope to be here to provide you all with our quality products you know and love!

From all the staff at Hop Back we only have one thing left to say - CHEERS!