North Bar/Brewing Co reveals what's in store for 2019

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Looking back: last year saw award wins and huge fundraising success for North Bar/North Brewing Co
Looking back: last year saw award wins and huge fundraising success for North Bar/North Brewing Co
The owners of Leeds-based North Bar/North Brewing Co may have been in operation for more than two decades but business has really taken off during the past 12 months.

Co-founder and director Christian Townsley summarised the highlights of last year and what is to come for this business in 2019.

He said: “Last year was a fantastic year for North Bar and North Brewing Co. Winning the Best Brewing Bar Group at The Publican Awards for the second consecutive year was massive for the whole company and was well deserved recognition for the whole team.

“Other awards, including our flagship IPA Transmission winning multiple awards from SIBA and Best Brand at The Beer & Cider Marketing Awards, were brilliant and it was fantastic for our designer James Ockelford of Refold to get some national recognition.”

But winning awards wasn’t all the business did in 2018, personal pride and community fundraising also meant a lot to North this year.

Townsley said: “Smashing our fundraising target of £20,000 for local hospice St Gemma's by raising more than £33,000 for them was humbling.

“John [Gyngell, fellow co-founder and director of North] and I making the Northern Restaurant Bar Show Top 50 was amazing given the operators we were listed alongside."

Reflections on 2018

He added: “Hosting brewery events and showcasing at beer festivals all over the world, from Leeds, Brighton, Copenhagen all the way to Shanghai was incredible.

“Achieving listings in Marks & Spencer and Booths was flabbergasting and enabled us to offer our beers to a new demographic. Eat North (a street food festival held at the brewery tap site in Sheepscar, Leeds) ran throughout the summer and was incredibly successful.”

Last year also saw the opening of a new venture for North. While it already had a brewery tap site in Leeds, this posed a few challenges, as would be expected when trying to co-ordinate events at a working brewery. Therefore, the company set its sights on a new venue, combining the facilities of the brewery and the award-winning bar aspect.

“Opening North Brewing City Tap in Leeds was astounding. It's been much more successful in its initial weeks than we'd expected and sets a standard for further North Brewing taprooms in other cities,” Townsley said.

“With a winning formula of fresh tap beers, tap cocktails and wine, great Fitch Brew Co cold coffee on tap and working with Dark Woods roasters to offer excellent filter coffee and Little Bao Boy offering an all-day menu. “

On top of this, the demand for North’s beer was continuously increasing and so, the business expanded this arm again.

Plans for expansion

Townsley added: “Acquiring our own canning line in December 2018 was a fantastic step for us in terms of flexibility, enabling us to package into can more frequently and further improve our quality control.

“Our range of fruited goses are rated as among the very best in the country as our reputation continues to grow. The icing on the cake came in December when we added six more 60hl fermenting vessels and a 100hl hot liquor tank to the brewery, more than doubling production capacity.    

“We're incredibly excited with the increased production capability and have already recruited new members to the brewery team as a result.

“The extra capacity we now have will mean we can continue to produce specials and one-off beers and collaborate with some of the world's best breweries, without compromising the production of our core range. 

“Our plans for expansion don't stop with the recent kit purchases, we're looking to raise funds in the spring to enable the purchase of a new brewhouse, giving us further production capability, in-house lab facilities and means we can brew beer to reach fans new and old, far and wide. 

“A mini-refurb of our flagship North Bar will be a big focus for the early part of 2019 and we'll continue to look for new site opportunities over the coming year. North Brewing's involvement in 2019's Rainbow Beer Project is exciting and signifies how far we've come in a short space of time.”

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