A Northumberland brewery is building up a head of steam after it expanded with a Government grant.
The Allendale Brewery has increased its capacity thanks to a £30,000 grant from Defra, ending fears it would have to leave its present site near the village.
An extension to the building, with the company finding the remainder of the £75,000 cost, has created a new cask washing room, and plans are afoot for further expansion this year.
The brewery is run by husband and wife Tom and Lucy Hick with director Neil Thomas, and employs nine staff, including part-time workers.
Tom said: “Last summer we were so busy we could barely keep up with the demand for our beer, so with the help of a Rural Growth Network grant we have been able to buy two 4,000-litre fermenting tanks and a new 4,000-litre hot liquor tank. This will increase our weekly capacity by 60% and we are planning to increase further as cash flow allows.
“The grant has been extremely useful as we have been able to increase our conditioning capacity and buy new casks and kegs, all important as we grow.”
The brewery has also given itself a new look, with new branding on all labels and delivery vehicles, and is shortly to launch a new website.
Lucy added: “We love our new branding and it seems that publicans do too.
“We have had many compliments, and as a result have now got five ‘tap takeovers’ lined up, where a pub will put our beer on all of their guest lines, which is amazing for us.
“The first is at the Free Trade in Newcastle starting this Friday the 14th, which also happens to be the eighth anniversary of our first ever batch of beer.”
Tom added: “I think it is a combination of factors that have seen our business success, we are making more and more interesting beers, we have a great team of people working here and the new branding looks set to make a great impact too. I am very proud of all the hard work that has gone into making the growth we have seen, especially considering the slow economy and boom in the numbers of other micros setting up in the area.
“It just goes to show how more and more people are enjoying quality, locally-brewed beers.”
Some new additions to their bottled range are due to be released this year, with recipes being taken from the popular “End” range, which showcases new and exciting beer styles.
Neil, Allendale’s head brewer, added: “Our customers are requesting more and more exciting beers, with New World hops and tastes proving extremely popular at the moment.
“People expect a much higher quality product these days.
“When you are looking for a bottle of beer, there are so many out there that people want something special, and we hope the new additions to our range will really appeal to the modern beer fan.”