Archive for category North East

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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Independent Barnsley brewery launches casks amnesty

Photo of Owner of Acorn Brewery Dave Hughes

Owner of Acorn Brewery Dave Hughes

A Barnsley independent brewery hopes to see hundreds of forgotten beer barrels roll back in to the business as it launches a cask amnesty.

Acorn Brewery has asked 400 pubs and bars to have a look in the back of their cellars and yards – and return any stray casks they find to the brewery to put back into circulation.

Dave Hughes, owner of Acorn Brewery said: “Every week we produce and send out about 100 barrels of real ale. A lot of that beer is delivered via wholesalers to hundreds of pubs and bars across the UK, but we also deliver direct to more than 400 customers in the North and East Midlands.

“It’s these customers we’ve asked to have shufty in their back rooms, to see if they can find any stray empty casks and give them to our van drivers on their next visit.

“Pubs are very busy places and ours is certainly a high-turnover product. We expect some loss of barrels of course, but we have an excellent relationship with our customers so thought we’d ask them to help us put some misplaced casks back into action.

“We aim to be as green and sustainable a business as possible and don’t like to think of them sitting there not being put to good use carrying our beer!”

Dave says they have sent out around 2,000 casks over the last 12 years and reckons about 1,600 are in circulation today. Casks cost about £60 each and are re-usable many times. When they come back in to the brewery, they are washed, sterilised and refilled with prime real ale to return to the pubs with a shelf-life of four to five weeks.

Dave and the team are keen to get some misplaced casks back in to business now as they have launched their summer beers for the holiday season.

Dave said: “We’ve brewed a summer beer called Summer Pale and a cricket-themed one called Burning Bails and so have extra deliveries to make at this time of year.

“Plus of course all this warm weather makes our customers thirsty.”

Acorn Brewery, based on Aldham industrial estate in Wombwell, was established in 2003 and now has a turnover of £1.2 million and employs 12 people.

The expanding brewery has doubled production in the last seven years and now routinely brews 30,000 pints of ale a week. In the last 12 months alone, sales have risen by a further 12 per cent and Dave aims to increase trade by another 20 per cent this year.

Acorn produces six permanent ales, Barnsley Bitter, Barnsley Gold, Yorkshire Pride, Blonde, Gorlovka and Old Moor Porter; plus a wide range of seasonal IPAs and kegged beers. It also sells bottled beers to supermarkets, other retail outlets and export customers.

The brewery also runs the Old No 7 in Barnsley town centre where it showcases Acorn’s own beers amongst other worldwide brands.

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Yorkshire Coast brewery celebrates White Rose shortlist success

Wold Top Brewery has reached the shortlist in the Taste of Yorkshire category of the Welcome to Yorkshire White Rose Awards.

The farm based brewery is one of six finalists and faces tough competition from fellow East Yorkshire business Vanessa Delicatessen, Butchery & Café in Beverley and Wadsley Hall Farm Kitchen Ltd (Tipple Tails), Rounton Coffee, Lottie Shaw’s Bakery, Yorkshire Heart Vineyard & Brewery and Yummy Yorkshire.

The Taste of Yorkshire award aims to reward tourism bosses who produce a quality end product or uses local produce and contributes to the long term sustainability of the local community. The winners will be announced at the White Rose ceremony later in the year.

Of the shortlist, Gill Mellor said: “It’s been a great year for Yorkshire and we’re delighted to have reached the final of this competition that celebrates all things Yorkshire.”

The brewery’s shortlist success comes on the back of the brewery’s recent award for Emerging Exporter at the Insider Media International Trade Awards and a shortlist in the national FDF (Food and Drink Federation) awards.

Farm based Wold Top Brewery is part of the Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) scheme for environmental initiatives and is also working closely with the RSPB to promote its birdlife. Its range of award winning ales is also available through the website, independent and multiple retailers, farm shops, delis, hotels, pubs and off licences.

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East Yorkshire ‘Food Star’ shortlisted for national growth award

Directors and staff at a Yorkshire coast brewery are celebrating after being shortlisted for a major national award.

Wold Newton based Wold Top Brewery has reached the final of the Growth Business Northern England category of the The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Awards.

The Food and Drink Federation Awards honour the talent and inspiration in the UK food and drink sector. Finalists will find out if they have triumphed on Monday 7 September at a gala industry event at The Brewery, London, hosted by broadcaster and presenter Hardeep Singh Kohli.

The group and individual shortlists were chosen by a panel of judges comprised of industry experts and sponsors. Finalists include a range of well-known brands, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and people who are rising stars in the industry or established innovators and technical experts.

The Wold Newton brewery faces competition from Country Pudding, Delicious Alchemy, The Flava People (MRC), Hawkshead Relish and Yorvale Icecream to take the prestigious prize.

Brewery Director, Gill Mellor is proud to have reached the final: “Since we were nominated as one of the Governments ’50 Food Stars’, we have been encouraged to enter national food and drink competitions and we’re very pleased to have been shortlisted.”

Steve Barnes, FDF’s Economics and Commercial Services Director, said: “We’ve had a record number of entries across the food and drink supply chain including growers, retailers and artisan producers, ranging from the big global brands to SMEs. Our expert judging panel faced a huge challenge to get the entries down to a shortlist, but we’re really pleased with the variety and number of entrants. This is a reminder of the talented, dedicated people there are working in Britain’s food and drink industry.

The brewery’s shortlist success comes on the back of the brewery’s recent award for Emerging Exporter at the Insider Media International Trade Awards.

Farm based Wold Top Brewery is part of the Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) scheme for environmental initiatives and is also working closely with the RSPB to promote its birdlife. Its range of award winning ales is also available through the website, independent and multiple retailers, farm shops, delis, hotels, pubs and off licences.

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Camerons Brewery We Are Family Festival 150th year anniversary celebrations.

We are family posterCamerons Brewery are delighted to announce details of the We Are Family Festival as part of its 150th year anniversary celebrations.

On the 19th September 2015 Hartlepool Marina aims to host its first major music event at the Jacksons Landing site celebrating and showcasing some of the finest talent in the North East.

WE ARE FAMILY Festival is curated and produced by Hartlepool collective The Jar Family and will feature exciting performances by some of the greatest musicians from the area. Showcasing over 15 artists WE ARE FAMILY presents a diverse range of artists such as Sunderland’s rootsy psych pop outfit Hyde & Beast, indie rock band Frankie & The Heartstrings, Newcastle’s northern funk duo Smoove & Turrell and Hartlepool heroes The Jar Family themselves, alongside a wealth of breaking talent and special guests.

The event is, however, subject to the necessary planning and licensing permissions being granted by Hartlepool Council.

WE ARE FAMILY Festival are working alongside local organisations including Hartlepool Borough Council and Camerons Brewery to bring a vibrant and innovative festival to Hartlepool. Hosted at Jacksons Landing, a 5,000 capacity venue which has been disused for over a decade, WE ARE FAMILY will regenerate and transform the superbly located facility into a top class event hub. With an entrance price of only £6 per person WE ARE FAMILY is a bold move to galvanise the area with an accessible music event of distinction.

Jar Family member Max Bianco says “We wanted to create something that really celebrated the vast musical talent in the North East and to acknowledge the support the local population has given us… and give them something to smile about!”


Dali from the band says “We’re always blown away that there’s a Poolie in the crowd at every gig, wherever we are in the country. We really want the town to get behind this so we can host one every year!”

The Jar Family are synonymous with the North East, from playing to an 80,000 strong crowd in Stockton-on-Tees to taking part in the BBC’s Music Day Hadrian’s Wall Of Sound event with a live performance on a boat speeding up the Tyne, they are now firmly established as one of the biggest live acts in the area. Conceived from the Hartlepool music scene, they have forged a distinctive style of North-East blues & roots, uniquely coined as ‘industrial folk’. Their new album, produced by acclaimed producer Rupert Christie, will be titled FAMILY FIRST and is set for release on September 4th.

Camerons Brewery, which was established in 1865, remains one of the oldest traditional breweries in the North East and is currently one of the largest employers in Hartlepool.  The brewery, which is celebrating its 150th birthday, will use WE ARE FAMILY Festival to showcase its own range of cask ales along with a selection of beers from the fantastic breweries in the region.

Marketing Manager for Camerons Brewery Yousef Doubooni says “2015 is an important year for us and we are hugely proud and excited to be involved in the Jacksons Landing event as part of our 150th anniversary. The combination of great beer and quality music will create an amazing atmosphere and provides the perfect way to commemorate our birthday celebrations, plus an opportunity to give something back to the town. Through this collaboration with WE ARE FAMILY and The Jar Family, Camerons is continuing to reach out and engage with even broader audiences and we look forward to seeing the positive impact this festival will have on the local community.”

Councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, the Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “Jacksons Landing forms a key part of the Regeneration Masterplan for the Marina and surrounding area and we will be coming forward with options to develop the site over the summer.

“In the meantime, hosting a major music event is an excellent way to utilise the site, but it is of course subject to the appropriate planning and licensing permissions being granted.”

WE ARE FAMILY tickets are £6 per person and are available online from 9am Friday June 26th here:

And in person at Christ Church Booking Office, Church Square, Hartlepool, TS24 7EQ. Tel - 01429 890000

For more information visit and follow us on Twitter @WeAreFamilyFest


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Kirkstall Brewery cheers major expansion and pub’s award

KIRKSTALL Brewery is embarking on a major expansion project as staff and regulars at the pub which showcases its ales celebrate a double success.

The Kirkstall Bridge Inn – which was relaunched as Kirkstall Brewery’s first pub just 18 months ago – has been named as Leeds Campaign for Real Ale’s pub of the year for the second year running.

The honour comes as the Kirkstall Road-based brewery, which opened three years ago, starts work on converting the former milk distribution centre at 100, Kirkstall Road.

The new brewery site, which is set to create up to ten new jobs when it starts operating by the end of this year, will allow the brewery to produce eight times more than the current 17,000 pints a week.


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Saltaire launch mobile ordering App to the Trade

Saltaire App Image

Saltaire Brewery has made ordering quicker and easier for publicans and retailers alike with the launch of its mobile App from 15 June.  The new App will provide trade customers with the option to place orders from their cellars or the shop floor, by using smartphones or tablets. In addition the App will provide up to date information on the latest brews, tasting notes, and product availability.


The App uses the latest technology which allows data to be used and stored offline, meaning that orders can be placed in cellars where Wi-Fi is frequently unavailable. The data will be stored until such a time that an internet connection can be made and the order will be sent.


Managing Director, Ewen Gordon said, “Our customers are changing the way that they operate and we are always looking at improving the way we serve them. It made sense to make use of App technology to make ordering even easier for our customers, and enhance the friendly and knowledgeable service that they have come to expect from Saltaire.”


The App is available for trade customers only and can be down loaded for free from iTunes and Google Play by searching for Saltaire Brewery sales.


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Latest figures show one pint of Barnsley Bitter sold every minute

One pint of Barnsley Bitter is sold every minute of the day according to latest figures from Acorn Brewery.

The landmark sales figure tops a period of significant growth in orders at the Barnsley-based brewery which has seen sales increase 12 per cent in the past 12 months.

Acorn Brewery owner Dave Hughes said: “Our latest order books show that, all in all, we now supply our customers across the UK and Europe with just over half a million pints of Barnsley Bitter a year.

“That means the equivalent of just over a pint of Barnsley Bitter is sold every minute of the day, whether it is a pint pulled behind a bar or a bottle picked off a supermarket shelf.

“We couldn’t believe it when we sat down and worked that out. The count up has been a real boost – and spurs us on to invest in further development at the brewery and go on increasing production and sales. Our aim is to increase trade again by at least 20 per cent this year.”

In 2015, Dave plans to invest in a larger coldstore plus new fermenters and conditioning tanks at the Wombwell-based independent brewery.

Barnsley Bitter is Acorn’s best-selling brand and is produced using the original strain of Barnsley Bitter yeast, dating back to the mid-19th century.

The iconic multi-award winning real ale most recently won Silver in a national competition to find the best ‘standard strength’ beer in the country, organised by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA).

Barnsley Bitter combines Maris Otter malt and English hops and has a 3.8 per cent ABV. It is described as a chestnut-coloured ale with a well-rounded, rich flavour and lasting bitter finish.

As well as Barnsley Bitter, Acorn’s sales figures show that is sells three pints of real ale a minute right across its range of permanent ales which includes Barnsley Gold, Yorkshire Pride, Blonde, Gorlovka and Old Moor Porter. The brewery also produces a range of seasonal IPAs and kegged beers.

Dave puts growth in sales down to the company’s hard work to expand its customer base.

He said: “We’ve grown successfully since we set up in 2003 and have doubled production over the last seven years from 50 brewers’ barrels to 100 a week to meet demand. In the last 12 months, we have seen some really great additions to our customer list including our first exports.”

Acorn now delivers direct to more than 400 pubs and bars in the north and midlands and supplies hundreds of others via wholesalers. Its beers can be bought in more than 50 independent retailers and, towards the end of 2014, the brewery secured a deal to supply 75 Morrisons stores in the north, meaning it now sells into all five big supermarkets; Morrisons, Asda, Tesco, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s.

Acorn secured its first export order shipping £10,000 worth of its real ale to Italy last year – and other Italian orders have followed. A brewery delegation also went to the UKTI’s recent ‘Barcelona Food and Drink Exhibition’ to court Spanish buyers.

Acorn’s acquisition of the Old Number 7 pub in Barnsley town centre in 2011 has also had a significant impact on sales with between eight and 10 percent of all its beer now being sold there.

Acorn Brewery, established in 2003, is based on Aldham industrial estate in Wombwell and has a turnover of £1.2 million. It employs 12 people and produces around 30,000 pints of real ale every week.

Dave added: “Our motto is ‘tradition and innovation’ and we are proud of our reputation for brewing traditional hand-pulled cask ales, plus our success in developing the newer products such as kegged beers and also increasing production of bottled beers for new markets.

“We are committed to growing the business, but also maintaining our quality and integrity as a small, independent brewer.”

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Marks and Spencer lists Saltaire Brewery specialist beers

Yorkshire based Saltaire Brewery has achieved another new listing for two of its bottled beers at 67 Marks & Spencer Food stores in the region from this month. The beers, Stateside IPA 6% ABV and the multi-award winning Triple Chocoholic 4.8% ABV, are the first of the Brewery’s beers to be sold at Marks & Spencer.

This latest listing follows another recent regional listing through The Co-operative Food announced by the Brewery in May.

Ewen Gordon, Managing Director said, “The focus on locally sourced foods by many of the major retailers is heartening for regional producers like ourselves. While we know we produce high quality, tasty beers, the support that Marks & Spencer brings in introducing them to their customers is a great boost for us. They have chosen a couple of very special beers. Let’s hope their customers agree!”

Stateside IPA 6% ABV is an American style IPA with a rich gold base and Amarillo, Cascade and Centennial hops providing firm balancing bitterness and full fruity, citrus flavours. The robust and spicy flavours of Stateside IPA make it the ideal accompaniment for strong blue cheeses and spicy meat dishes like cassoulet and chorizo sausage.

Triple Chocoholic 4.8% ABV is an international award-winning stout having twice been awarded Gold by the International Brewing Awards in 2011 and 2015. Chocolate malt and chocolate essence combines to provide a strong chocolate bouquet and a rich chocolate flavour. Good hopping provides a balancing bitterness. It’s a great complement to a cheese board, and of course, any chocolate-based dessert. Try it poured over ice-cream for a delicious ice-cream float!

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