Director Nick Desai, who launched the business in Blackheath in 2000 with Dipam Patel, said that growth of the four-strong group had been slow so far, but it would be speeding up this year.
“We’re coming to the point where we want to grow the business," he told BigHospitality. "We’ve had time for ourselves and the family, so now it’s the time to expand.”
Desai said one of the main reasons for expansion now was that the company, which also operates sites in Bristol, Reading and Cardiff, had discovered a technique to allow it to bottle its beers and keep them fresh without having to pasteurise them.
"They can now be hand bottled without being pasteurised. It gives them a slightly shorter shelf life, but the difference in taste is like the difference between drinking carton orange juice and fresh orange juice," he said.
For Zerodegrees, increasing production of its bottled beers - bottled in Gloucester- crucially means that it does not have to limit itself to finding sites large enough to house a microbrewery. Desai said new sites would run the same concept of serving beer with wood-fired pizzas, mussels in kilo pots and sausages, but would use beer driven in from existing locations.
"Our size requirements are quite large - Blackheath is 8,000 sq ft and that's our smallest, so we're going to scale it down slightly to open more satellite sites which can be served from nearby breweries," said Desai. "The fact that all our current sites are along the M4 corridor is no accident," he said. "We've invested in more tanks in existing locations to allow us to take the beer out and tank it across to new sites."
The company, which is also planning to increase its beer range from seven to 10, is currently looking at sites in Surrey between its London and Reading locations and would consider cities like Cheltenham and Gloucester. Desai said the company planned to open one new site this year with one to two new sites a target for following years.
A menu refresh is also planned for May as part of its regular bi-annual review with new pizza toppings to include Pulled pork and Scotch bonnet chilli, Jamaican jerk chicken and Minced spiced lamb. A lobster bisque style sauce will also be added to the kilo pot mussels menu.