THE CASK PROJECT

Acorn Brewery's new general manager to champion cask

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Strong direction: Liz Casserly has big plans in store for Acorn Brewery
Strong direction: Liz Casserly has big plans in store for Acorn Brewery

Related tags Beer Yorkshire

Liz Casserly is on a mission to champion cask as she takes to the helm of 20-year-old Acorn Brewery in Yorkshire.

Casserly, who has previously worked at Abbeydale Brewery, the Pivovar group and Hickory’s Restaurants as well as other pubs across Yorkshire, has joined Acorn as general manager.

Her appointment follows the sale of the Barnsley-based brewery to boutique investment company Sonas Capital, following the retirement of former owners Dave and Christy Hughes.

Casserly, 40, had been a customer of Acorn Brewery for around 15 beers before she took on the role.

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She is drawn to the quality of the beers, as well as the traditional brewing methods and use of top fermenters, and use of historical yeast strain.

She said: ”I have a passion for hospitality, brewing and beer. I have known and loved Acorn beers for years, so I am delighted to have this opportunity to take the brewery forward, building on the past 20 successful years.”

Speaking to The Morning Advertiser,​ she added: “There’s huge growth potential,” she told The Morning Advertiser,​ “and there’s also a couple of more modern ways of doing things that I really want to implement. But I definitely don’t want to change anything with regards to the recipes, integrity and history.”

Growth plans

The brewery already exports produce to Italy, but Casserly hopes to broaden its overseas market into other parts of Europe and Scandinavia, where there’s a “very strong” following for craft beer, “the weird and wonderful” and traditional beers.

The Penistone resident also wants to look at adding some keg beers and hop-forward beers to the cask-heavy portfolio, but also hopes to resurrect some traditional cask styles like dark mild or golden mild.

Casserly is passionate about cask as she believes it’s something almost unique to the UK. She said: “The Canadians do it and for the most part do it incredibly well, but it’s a method of brewing that is very strictly Great Britain.

“We can all get a little patriotic and a little proud of the beer industry in our country, in particular cask. There’re flavours available in cask beer you simply can’t replicate in any other form.

“I fell in love with cask year 20-odd years ago, and it is a very patriotic, wholesome thing.”

She hopes to market cask to young people, who tend to be more interested in fizzy keg beer rather than cask. She said: “Lots of young people have never sampled cask ale. I would like to see them falling in love with cask as I did when I was 18, drinking to enjoy the flavour of beers rather than simply drinking.”

Exciting future

Engaging that audience in a way that traditional breweries haven’t done will be really important for the brewery, she added.

A positive trend the motorcyclist has noticed is the rise of independent bottle shops selling beer from all around the world. The emergence of “Aladdin’s caves of beer” on highstreets had been “amazing”.

Casserly also believes that more people have been coming out and drinking cask in pubs since the pandemic. She added: “Some would say people don’t go out as much and that rising prices has affected people.

“I think people are still drinking but they’re very choosy about what they drink because they want to drink the best quality.”

Welcoming the appointment, Sonas Capital director Brendan Fitzpatrick said: “In Liz, we now have a first-class general manager to lead the excellent Acorn team forward and grow the business in the face of an extremely challenging environment for both brewing and hospitality.

“Liz brings a wealth of management experience to the post, with the energy, enthusiasm and imagination to match these challenges.”

Looking to the future Casserly feels “really confident” about trade. She said: “As an industry we’re much more optimistic than we have been in a really long time. We’re ready to show the world who we are and open people’s eyes and taste buds to craft beer and cast beer who simply haven’t had a chance before.”

Related topics The Cask Project

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