Roads closed following chemical spill at Bedford brewery

Roads have had to be cordoned off following a chemical spill at a brewery in Bedford.

Firefighters created a 150-metre safe zone around the Charles Wells Brewery in Bedford as crews dealt with a spillage of 200 litres of hydrochloric acid and 350 litres of sodium chlorite. The incident at the brewery, which is the home of Bombardier beer, took place just after 9am on Tuesday (17 November) and the site has now been closed temporarily.

Business insurance is designed to protect companies from events like this, which can see their assets being destroyed and their trading interrupted. Specialist brewery insurance is also available for the specific needs of the brewery industry, including public liability, employers’ liability and business interruption.

A spokesperson for Charles Wells commented after the event: "This morning we identified a minor leak of chlorine dioxide at the brewery which is used in the sterilisation of water. Thanks to the quick reactions of one of our staff we were able to act immediately, the fire service have joined us on site in Queens Park and cordoned off an area at the brewery as a precautionary measure while they conduct standard checks.

"We’d like to reassure our neighbours that there is no cause for concern, however to enable these checks to take place we have had to close access to the site temporarily. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and would like to thank people for their cooperation."

Both the chemicals spilt are used in the brewing process; hydrochloric acid balances the beer's residual alkalinity (RA), while sodium chloride is used to accentuate bitterness, enhance flavours and fullness, The Drink Business reported.