Archive for category North East

Fresh look and new investment at Barnsley brewery

A Barnsley brewery committed to tradition has adopted a new look for modern times and announced thousands of pounds worth of investment in growth.

Acorn Brewery has refreshed its branding and announced it will spend £60,000 on new brewing equipment and office space to mark its 12th anniversary.

Dave Hughes, owner of Acorn Brewery said: “We have been trading for 12 years now and have not changed our branding over that time, but feel the time is right for a refresh now.

“The brewing industry has changed a lot since we started in the summer of 2003 and, particularly in the last six years or so. There are now many more independent brewers out there and it is much more important to have a clear stand-out identity at the pumps and on the supermarket shelf.”

Acorn has worked with Barnsley-based design agency DMSQD to develop its new branding which draws on aspects of its former image, including colour scheme and the acorn logo, but develops a stronger connection and sense of identity across all its products.

Dave added: “It was very important to us that our new look reflects our ‘brewery spirit’ of tradition and innovation. The integrity of the business and our signature ales remain largely the same as we are committed to traditional brewing techniques, but we have extended our range and evolved our flavours a little over time, plus we regularly innovate with new IPAs and have introduced kegged beer products.

“It has been fantastic working with DMSQD who have understood what we are about completely and developed for us an updated image which uses a clear and attractive chalkboard effect.”

Acorn’s new branding has been translated on to pump clips, bar mats and bottle labels.

The rebrand marks a period of expansion at the brewery. This summer, they will invest in new conditioning tanks, an extended cold room store and new office space at their Aldham House industrial estate premises in Wombwell.

Dave said: “Our three new conditioning tanks will mean an extra 15,000 litres of real ale can undergo the week-long conditioning process at any one time. This is when we monitor the beer’s development before we judge it to be perfectly full-bodied, flavoursome and ready to cask.

“The extra capacity at this stage will loosen up the whole production process and mean we can brew more beer to meet growing demand.”

The company’s larger cold store will mean Acorn can keep more hops on the one hand and bottled beers ready for collection on the other – all at the optimum temperature of below 14º degrees centigrade.

And a new office area will be created to give the brewery’s expanding sales team its own dedicated space for the first time.
Acorn Brewery’s development has been supported through Enterprising Barnsley, a European-funded programme delivered by Barnsley Council which supports local businesses to grow and create jobs.

The company has a turnover of £1.2 million and employs 12 people. After doubling production over the last seven years, it now produces around 30,000 pints of real ale a week.

Sales have increased 12 per cent in the past 12 months and Acorn delivers direct to more than 400 pubs and bars in the north and midlands and supplies hundreds of others via wholesalers. It sells into the UK’s top five supermarket chains and 50 independent retailers, plus exports its bottled beer to Italy via a whole sale customer.

Dave said: “With our latest investment and new image we are prepared to go on increasing production and sales. Our aim is to increase trade again by at least 20 per cent this year.”

Acorn Brewery produces six permanent ales; Barnsley Bitter, Barnsley Gold, Yorkshire Pride, Blonde, Gorlovka and Old Moor Porter. It also produces a range of seasonal IPAs and kegged beers.

The company also owns the Old Number 7 pub in Barnsley town centre, which it acquired in 2011, and between eight and 10 percent of all its beer is now sold there.

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A Brace of wins for The Durham Brewery – Bede’s Chalice and Finchale Abbaye

Very well known for its bottle conditioned beers, The Durham Brewery has been winning with bottled beers since getting Gold at GBBF for Evensong. Steve got his initial bottle inspiration from Belgian beers many years before even thinking about starting a brewery. Well, this year came two awards for Belgian style beer.

Bede’s Chalice is a Belgian style tripel which has been winning awards with British Bottlers’ Institute and International Beer Challenge since 2010. This year brought Gold in the strong ales class with British Bottlers’ Institute. The name derives from St Bede who is buried in Durham Cathedral. Monks were brewers of ale, which was a part of their daily diet. We are sure Bede would have loved this strong, golden, coriander laced ale. A tripel is a strong light coloured beer, should not be too heavy, and should be well balanced. At 9% abv Bede’s Chalice fits the bill perfectly and can described as liquid bread.

Finchale Abbaye is a newcomer, and silver in World Beer Awards Belgian Style Strong is its first award. This 10% abv, full bodied and very dark beer has coffee and roast notes with a big punch of alcohol. Visitors to our shop say, “I couldn’t drink much of that”. Steve retorts, “you’re not supposed to!” Its complexity and massive body make it a sipper rather than a supper. The name comes from a local ruined abbey which the Durham monks used as a holiday retreat. Abbaye is the Belgian term for Trappist type beer brewed by lay brewers.

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Brewing brilliance rewarded as Black Sheep take World Beer Awards medals

Black Sheep Brewery has scooped two prestigious accolades at this year’s World Beer Awards (WBAs), affirming its standing as a top quality national and global brewery.
Black Sheep Ale and Riggwelter, stalwarts of the North Yorkshire Brewery’s hugely popular range of bottled ales, have received Gold and Silver medals, respectively, at the Awards, judged by an expert panel of journalists, retailers, buyers, brewers and marketers in London.

Black Sheep Ale, which has an ABV of 4.4%, received the Gold Medal in the Pale Beer – Amber category of the WBAs. A past winner of the Great Taste Gold Award and bronze medallist in the London 2012 International Beer Challenge, Black Sheep Ale is the Brewery’s leading bottled brand, having been part of the flock since 1993.

Riggwelter, a former bronze medallist at the International Beer Challenge in 2011, received a Silver Medal in the WBA Strong Dark Beer category. At 5.7% ABV, bottled Riggwelter complements the cask version of the beer as Black Sheep’s flagship strong ale.

These successes are not the first time Black Sheep has been successful in the World Beer Awards, with the Brewery’s Yorkshire Square Ale having previously been named World’s Best Premium Bitter in 2009.

Black Sheep Brewery’s Sales and Marketing Director Jo Theakston said: “These World Beer Awards for Black Sheep Ale and Riggwelter are a credit to our brewing team and affirm what we all believe here at the brewery – that Black Sheep’s range of premium beers is pretty much unrivalled in its quality and taste.

“Our Head Brewer, Alan Dunn, and his team deserve particular praise. They have been creating top quality brews for over two decades now and it’s the dedication to their art and obsession with quality ingredients that has resulted in this recognition. Everyone at the brewery is very proud we have been honoured with these awards, especially against such esteemed competition. We aren’t resting on our laurels. There’s lots of new quality brews in the pipeline too so watch this space.”

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Bottle of beer brewed in Barnsley wins bronze medal in global competition

A bottle of beer brewed in Barnsley has won a bronze medal in an international beer tasting competition. Old Moor Porter, produced by Acorn Brewery, was awarded bronze in the taste category of the International Beer Challenge 2015.

The competition attracted 630 entries from 30 countries including Cambodia, Brazil, South Africa and Japan. Each bottle of beer was blind tasted by a panel of UK and European beer experts including retailers, importers, publicans, brewers and beer writers.

Old Moor Porter won a medal for flavour and character. Other categories covered product design and presentation.

Acorn Brewery owner Dave Hughes said: “We’re delighted this bottled version of our Old Moor Porter has won bronze in this international competition. It comes hot on the heels of a silver medal we won for our Barnsley Bitter at the Great British Beer Festival last week.

“Old Moor Porter is one of our six permanent ales and a keen favourite with those who like a darker, smooth and mellow ale.”

International Beer Challenge chairman of the judges Jeff Evans said: “The standard of the entries to competition has rocketed this year, which is testimony to the quality of beers that are now available around the world. There has never been a better time to be a beer drinker. Medals were awarded to the exceptional entries and all our winners deserve recognition and success.”

The international Beer Challenge awards evening will take place in London’s Mayfair in September (Monday 7th September 2015).

Acorn Brewery, based in Wombwell, produces six permanent ales; Barnsley Bitter, Barnsley Gold, Yorkshire Pride, Blonde, Gorlovka and Old Moor Porter. It also produces a range of seasonal IPAs and kegged beers.

It was set up in 2003 and after doubling production over the last seven years, now produces around 30,000 pints of real ale every week.

The brewery delivers direct to more than 400 pubs and bars in the north and midlands and supplies hundreds of others via wholesalers. It sells into the UK’s top five supermarket chains and 50 independent retailers, and has begun exporting its bottled beer to Italy via a whole sale customer. Acorn also owns the Old Number 7 pub in Barnsley town centre.

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Liquorice Beer Makes It A Hat-Trick Of Wins At World Beer Awards For Yorkshire Brewer!

East Yorkshire based Great Newsome Brewery has made it a hat-trick of wins in the World Beer Awards 2015 announced this week, following successes in both 2013 and 2014. The family run craft brewery has taken a Gold Medal for its ‘Liquorice Lads Stout’ following success in previous years with Frothingham Best, best bitter.

What has made the award more special is that the brewery produced the beer unusually using real liquorice root at the request of one particular customer. ‘Liquorice Lads Stout’, which takes its name from the gangs of workers who once harvested the root by hand was inspired by customer, Robert Copley of Pontefract based ‘Farmer Copleys’, who is bringing back the growing of liquorice to its spiritual home in the West Yorkshire town.

“I am delighted that we are getting into the habit of winning World Beer awards”, said Matthew Hodgson from Great Newsome Brewery. “We have won various awards in the UK over the last 8 years or so since the brewery began but to win awards for the quality of our beer over the last 3 years on the World stage is a credit to everyone here”, he added.

“When Robert approached us last year to brew a liquorice beer we found it to be one of the more tricky beers to brew, especially working with liquorice root and so this is award makes the hours getting it right all worthwhile”.

“The Liquorice Lads Stout has gained quite a following since we first released it, I have been surprised with how people who love liquorice seek anything out made with it and we will certainly use this award to help promote this unusual beer”.

Great Newsome Brewery gained national media coverage for its ‘Frothingham Best’ beer which won the title “Best Bitter up to 5%” in the World in the 2013 ‘World Beer Awards’. It subsequently won a European bronze in the same awards in 2014. Liquorice Lads Stout which has been awarded a gold medal in the Flavoured Stout / Porter category and is a rich dark beer at 4.3% with an aroma of Pontefract cakes. The brewery uses home grown malting barley from it farm to brew its range of beers and uses quirky names such as Sleck Dust, Pricky Back Otchan and Frothingham Best. Established in 2007 it now supplies its award winning cask and bottles beers throughout the UK and overseas.

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CAN Northern Monk?…

Of course they CAN with the help of MD Engineering Solutions!

The Leeds based brewer has recently taken delivery of their brand new Wild Goose canning line, which is the first of their static lines to be installed in the UK.

The new canning facility has been installed by MD Engineering Solutions who, are the exclusive UK partners of the Colorado based Wild Goose Canning.

Commenting earlier on the performance and installation of the new facility Northern Monk’ Head Brewer Brian Dickson said the canning process “is so easy with this machine” and he is “delighted with the results”.

MD Engineering Solutions Technical Director Matthew Horsey adds “We are extremely delighted with the new CE certified range of machines which, have been produced specifically for the UK and European Markets” On the Northern Monk install Matthew comments “Northern Monk have been canning their new limited edition range and been surprised by how simple the machine is to set up and use”

The Wild Goose range of canning machines all benefit from the patented active fill control along with the patented “world class” double seaming technology, This helps provide customers with a consistent product in the can with the lowest dissolved-oxygen levels on the market against comparable machines.

Northern Monk are launching their new limited edition canned beer range as part of the City of Industry festival in Leeds of the 14th, 15th & 16th August taking part at the Brewery, The Old Flax Store, Marshall Mills, Leeds.

For information or enquiries on canning call MD Engineering Solutions on 0113 2870081.

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United Kingdom’s Best Gluten-free Speciality Beer – official! Hambleton Ales GFA

At this year’s World Beer Awards, local brewer Nick Stafford’s Hambleton Ales with his GFA – “Gluten Free Beer” – took the top UK award in its category. Beating tough competition from several other UK brewers Hambleton Ales now goes forward to the global finals being judged this month.

Hambleton Ales GFA won the Tesco Beer Innovation Award in 2006 and has continued to be the UK’s premier gluten free beer, distributed since by Tesco, Asda and other national and regional supermarkets. Today, online shopping is the busiest channel for sales direct to the consumer.

Nick Stafford says: “All the team at the brewery have always thought this beer to be special, as it has been so easy to sell repeat orders to drinkers, but this award is proof to us that GFA is an outstanding beer at the highest professional standards. We look forward to the global finals!”

For more information on Hambleton Ales please go to or call 01765 640108.

What Are The World Beer Awards?

The World Beer Awards are the global awards selecting the very best internationally recognised beer styles. This annual tasting selects, awards and promotes the ‘World’s Best Beers’ to consumers and the trade throughout the world. Beers must be generally available and for sale in bottles or cans.
Judging is blind with regional style heats held in Asia, Europe and the Americas. All regions have their own Chairman and group of judges who select the style winners in their region. Style winners from all regions are then tasted against each other to select the World’s Best Style. From these world winners we can then select the World’s Best categories, from which the World’s Best Beer is selected.

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Silver success for Barnsley Bitter at national competition

Acorn Brewery’s Barnsley Bitter has won a silver medal at the real ale industry’s most prestigious national competition.

Expert beer drinkers from the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) awarded the iconic Barnsley brew second prize at the Great British Beer Festival this week.

Acorn Brewery’s best-selling pint beat off competition from hundreds of other ales produced by breweries across the UK – and beat last year’s overall gold medal winner to a bronze position too.

A 10-strong delegation from the Wombwell-based brewery attended the Great British Beer Festival at Olympia in London to accept their prize.

Acorn’s Barnsley Gold real ale and its bottled Gorlovka stout also made it through the finals of CAMRA’s national championships.

Owner of Acorn Brewery Dave Hughes said: “We are thrilled to bring back a silver medal for Barnsley Bitter from this year’s Great British Beer Festival.

“We’ve brewed Barnsley Bitter for 12 years now and its consistent high quality has been recognised year on year by a string of regional and national awards including a previous silver medal from CAMRA in 2006.

“But the competition is getting tougher as this thriving industry grows and we’re very proud that our Barnsley Bitter is still up there with the best nationally and continuing to win gongs today.

“It is fantastic to get this national recognition from CAMRA – they are the beer drinking experts and know a fine real ale when they taste one.”

Barnsley Bitter has made it to the CAMRA national finals eight times previously. The beer also won a silver award from the UK’s Society of Independent Brewers in March this year.

The Great British Beer Festival is the UK’s biggest beer festival where visitors get the chance to sample more than 900 real ales, ciders, perries and international beers produced by more than 350 breweries.

Acorn attended the event’s dedicated trade day where independent brewers get the chance to meet licensees, owners of pubs and bars, retailers and beer writers, and network with other producers in the close-knit and growing micro-brewing industry.

Barnsley Bitter is Acorn Brewery’s best-selling brand and is produced using the original strain of Barnsley Bitter yeast, dating back to the mid-19th century. The chestnut-coloured real ale combines Maris Otter malt and English hops and boasts a well-rounded, rich flavour and lasting bitter finish. It has a 3.8 per cent ABV.

Acorn Brewery, based in Wombwell, produces six permanent ales; Barnsley Bitter, Barnsley Gold, Yorkshire Pride, Blonde, Gorlovka and Old Moor Porter. It also produces a range of seasonal IPAs and kegged beers.

It was set up in 2003 and after doubling production over the last seven years, now produces around 30,000 pints of real ale every week.

Sales have increased 12 per cent in the past 12 months due to customer gains and the brewery now delivers direct to more than 400 pubs and bars in the north and midlands and supplies hundreds of others via wholesalers. It sells into the UK’s top five supermarket chains and 50 independent retailers, and has begun exporting its bottled beer to Italy via a whole sale customer.

Acorn currently has a turnover of £1.2 million and employs 12 people.

The company also owns the Old Number 7 pub in Barnsley town centre, which it acquired in 2011, and between eight and 10 percent of all its beer is now sold there.

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Half Full Beer Co Completes The Purchase Of Ilkley Brewery

Photo of acquisition teamHall Full Beer Co, based in West Yorkshire, is delighted to announce the acquisition of multi-award-winning Ilkley Brewery for an undisclosed sum. The purchase marks the first phase for Half Full Beer Co, with the launch of a separate, new brewery amongst their future plans. The buyout of Ilkley Brewery will see immediate investment on the existing site in the small Yorkshire town. There will be expansion in production facilities, upgrades to brewing kit, and the creation of new jobs.

Ilkley Brewery was founded in 2009 by a group of local beer enthusiasts, and started life in a humble site in the centre of town, producing cask ales for the local community. The brewery soon started to win awards for its well-balanced beers, and demand outgrew capacity. Local investment in 2011 saw production move to a larger site, and over the following 4 years, production capacity rose to over 45,000 pints per week. There was a complete rebrand during 2012, and the beer was distributed nationally and internationally, from Brighton to Edinburgh, and from America to China.

In Head Brewer Christa Sandquist, the brewery boasts one of the most talented and exciting young brewers in the industry, and the business has built an exceptional reputation for producing a varied and distinctive range of beers, many of which have won plaudits and awards around the world. Christa has been responsible for improving standards and consistency over the past 18 months, during which time the brewery’s awards tally has doubled, including most recently another Gold medal for The Mayan at the SIBA regional keg competition, within the last week.

Half Full Beer Co was formed by former Ilkley Brewery manager Luke Raven, who with the support of a team of excited and energetic investors, has spearheaded this project. Of the acquisition he said

“With the quality of their beers recognised, and demand high, the opportunity to continue to be a part of the Ilkley Brewery story was not one to be passed up. I formed Half Full Beer Co with an open remit to engage in the beer industry as a whole, and with a vision to develop a portfolio of brands. We are energized and focused on providing fresh impetus to continue building the Ilkley brand as an integral part of this portfolio.

“Our optimistic, open and community-based approached perfectly suits Ilkley Brewery, and as a local resident myself, this is a very proud day. I am delighted that Richard Shelton is remaining as a shareholder and Director, and can be confident that under his sustained stewardship, the business can continue to flourish.”

The brewery has been operating at full capacity for some time, unable to accept extra business despite demand from its 600-strong customer base. The new investment will allow production to double within 2 years.

At a time where interest in British brewing has never been higher, Ilkley beers will be available to more pubs, bars, restaurants and shops across the UK than ever before. Core brews Mary and Joshua Jane have recently launched in Marks and Spencer’s, supplementing the Ilkley presence in Morrisons, Sainsburys and Asda and with further listings imminent. Ilkley beers will also be representing Yorkshire at the forthcoming CAMRA Great British Beer Festival.

Speaking of the future plans, Managing Director Richard Shelton says

“This marks the start of yet another exciting chapter in the brewery’s history. Having already grown at an exceptional rate, I believe that this new partnership and the investment that comes with it will enable us to raise our ambitions and maximize our potential. I am supported by a strong and dynamic team, who have been fundamental in building Ilkley Brewery’s reputation, and will continue to play an important role in our future growth. We have flourished in the last year, growing the brewery to be in the top 15% of Independent British breweries by production. We can now move forward together with a target to be in the top 5% within the next two years.”

The investment in company infrastructure, including the creation of more jobs will be immediate, and orders have already been placed for brewing kit to increase production. Half Full Beer Co intends to give Ilkley Brewery the tools it requires to realise its potential, and compete in the vibrant and competitive arena that is the British beer industry.

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