This year sees Great Newsome Brewery celebrating its tenth anniversary and the progress the Hull-based company has made in this time was underlined in 2016 when it carried away not one but two Great Taste Awards for its Liquorice Lads stout and Hodgson IPA beers.
“Gaining a three gold star award for Liquorice Lads is quite an achievement and is very important for us as a business,” explains Matthew Hodgson, Director. “These awards are recognised not only within UK but much further afield and we’ve even had enquiries from Europe on the back of the success. It might be a bit of a niche product but the quality is there and this is the first time that we have received such a high accolade within the Great Taste Awards. We were delighted with the win, especially as Liquorice Lads also secured a World Beer Award back in 2015.”
After many years of farming in Winstead near Hull, the move into brewing and the subsequent creation of Great Newsome Brewery came about as a result of the growing pressures that the agricultural sector was facing at the turn of the century. “As the majority of our family’s income was generated via farming we had become quite exposed to any potential downturn in commodity prices so were looking at additional revenue streams,” adds Mr Hodgson. “We had actually explored brewing as an option back in 1999 but the market conditions weren’t quite right at the time, as the local food and drink scene wasn’t that well developed and many pubs were still tied.
“It wasn’t until 2006 that we recognised that there’d been a significant change in people’s perceptions of local food and drink, while at the same time pubs were increasingly open to stocking guest beers. Collectively these changes gave us the motivation to revisit the brewing idea in 2006 and the following year we were up and running with the production of two beers, Sleck Dust and Pricky Back Otchan. These remain part of our core range, which currently consists of five other beers that we produce all-year-round (Frothingham Best, Jem’s Stout, Holderness Dark, Ploughman’s Pride and Liquorice Lads). These are supplemented by seasonal beers that give us the opportunity to develop beers that are a bit more adventurous. Having started out in cask only we now offer the products in bottles too.”
As the awards suggest, Great Newsome Brewery has earned an enviable reputation for the quality of its beers and this, coupled with the craft beer explosion of recent years, has enabled the company to grow strongly within the marketplace. “It’s impossible to ignore the amazing growth that the craft ale sector has seen over the past ten years and the beer industry has changed beyond all recognition with all the traditional hand pulls that had been removed from pubs having now been put back in. We’ve really been able to ride on the crest of this wave, particularly with the high levels of provenance that we’re able to demonstrate. From a marketing perspective beer drinkers really appreciate the ‘plough to pint’ aspect of our range.”
While Great Newsome Brewery has certainly benefitted from fortunate timing, there has been more than its share of hard work involved in its success and the company has invested strongly in all aspects of its operation to ensure the quality of its products remains consistently high. “We have gone to great lengths to produce a good quality range of beers and this approach has involved everything from investing in training for the staff through to purchasing the latest equipment for the brewery,” says Mr Hodgson. “We’ve also strived to back up this investment by delivering excellent customer service. We feel this is every bit as important as the quality of the beers.”
Having chalked up an award-laden 2016, Great Newsome Brewery is looking to keep the success going in the months ahead with further expansion on the cards. “We’ve gradually grown the business over the past ten years in order to increase our output but we’re now looking for a slightly larger expansion to help us cope with the rise in demand that we’ll be seeing over the next 12 months,” concludes Mr Hodgson. “We’ll also be doing various bits and pieces to celebrate the tenth anniversary, including holding an open day in June. Not many businesses survive ten years from start-up so to be still growing after all this time is testament to the hard work of everyone within the business and the quality of the products.”
Given the award success and ongoing growth it is seeing, the team at Great Newsome Brewery have certainly earned the right to celebrate the company’s tenth anniversary with a beer or two.