Great Newsome Brewery, in East Yorkshire, is celebrating its 15th anniversary with the launch of a limited-edition version of the first beer it produced.
The brewery was founded in 2007 by the Hodgson family, which has farmed for four generations at South Frodingham in the Holderness countryside.
From small beginnings — brewing just 20 casks a week in its first year of operation — the business has grown significantly over 15 years and is marking the milestone by producing a special edition of its flagship Sleck Dust beer.
‘Sleck dust’ is Yorkshire farming dialect for ‘quench a thirst’, and the original beer, a light-coloured, easy drinking ale, does that. The limited-edition celebratory version of the brewery’s bestselling beer is dry hopped to showcase the flavour and aroma of the hops.
The anniversary is the latest achievement for the brewery, which has been steadily chalking up successes in the craft beer industry since its launch. Among them are regional, national, and international awards for its beers, including the top prize in the World Beer Awards in both 2013 and 2020 for its Frothingham Best bitter.
The brewery has also been chosen to produce beers for local events and brands, from Brewculture, the official beer of Hull UK City of Culture 2017, to Kit Room Craft, for rugby league giants Hull Kingston Rovers.
Matthew Hodgson. Photographs: Great Newsome Brewery
Great Newsome Brewery director, Matthew Hodgson, said: “We set the business up at a time when farmers were being encouraged to diversify and create new income streams to secure their future.
“We had noticed a growing interest in real ales and in locally-produced food and drink, so after a lot of careful research, and with the help of a small grant and a business loan, we set the brewery up with a plan to see where we could take it in five years.
“It’s been hard work, with some challenging times along the way, but we couldn’t have imagined 15 years ago that we would be where we are today, with 11 employees and production as high as 400 casks a week.”
The brewery’s range includes stouts and dark ales, as well as golden and paler brews, which are available on tap as regular or guest ales in more than 150 independent and chain pubs across the north of the UK, as well as in major retailers, including Asda, Waitrose, and Morrisons.
The brewery has also seen growing sales in northern Italy, where the style of traditional British beer Matthew and his team have perfected is particularly popular.
Since 2014, it has used home-grown barley in its beer, adapting the growing conditions on the farm to produce 150 tonnes of the crop, which is turned into malt just 40 miles up the coast at Muntons, in Flamborough.
The success of the venture, said Matthew, comes down to the brewery’s focus on quality, customer service and maintaining strong links with the local community. “We started brewing during a period of strong growth for the craft beer industry and some of the brands who launched around that time have flourished, while others have failed,” he said.
“There are lots of companies out there making lots of beer, but people want what they’re drinking to be good quality. That’s what we provide and, along with a great team and good old-fashioned customer service, it’s been the key to our growth. I’m looking forward to building on that and to brewing more great beers in the next 15 years.”
• Bottles of Sleck Dust Limited Edition are available on the Great Newsome Brewery website, together with limited edition 15th anniversary stemmed pint glasses.