A limited-edition version of the first beer produced by an East Yorkshire brewery is celebrating its 15th anniversary.
It was founded by the Hodgson family in 2007, which has farmed at South Frodingham in Holderness for four generations.
In its first year, the brewery produced just 20 casks a week. Over the last 15 years, the business has grown significantly and is celebrating by releasing a special edition of its flagship beer Sleck Dust.
Sleck dust means ‘quench a thirst’ in Yorkshire farming dialect, and the original beer’s light colour and easy drinking are exactly what you need. Dry-hopped, the brewery’s bestselling beer features the flavour and aroma of hops in a limited edition.
In the craft beer industry, since its launch, the brewery has steadily racked up success after success.
Frothingham Best bitter has won regional, national, and international awards for its beers, including the top prize at both the 2013 and 2020 World Beer Awards.
Director Matthew Hodgson reflected on the brewery’s development by saying:
“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.”
As a testament to the quality and popularity of Great Newsome Brewery’s beers, the brewery’s distribution network has grown.
Over 150 independent and chain pubs across the north of the UK serve its stouts and dark ales, as well as golden and paler brews as regular or guest ales.
Matthew and his team have also enjoyed international success, with growing sales in northern Italy, where traditional British beer has proven particularly popular.
While building the business hasn’t always been easy, Great Newsome was hit hard by the Coronavirus pandemic, which came shortly after it had invested heavily in a new brewery that could double production.
“In January 2020 we installed the new brewery to support our growth plans and less than two months later we were in lockdown, with pubs and restaurants shut and little idea of what the future would hold,” Matthew said.
“Our focus had always been on trade sales so when lockdown hit we had to pivot very quickly to build direct sales, both through our own website and on some of the best-known gifting websites. We also moved into the corporate gift market and made the most of the trend for Zoom get-togethers by offering online tasting sessions.
“Thanks to that shift we were able to get most of our team back into the brewery fairly quickly and we’ve come out of the pandemic stronger than we went into it.”
It has also grown its annual ‘Festivale’, which attracted 800 visitors this year over two days in June for live music, street food and Great Newsome beer.
Also, Brewculture was chosen to be the official beer of Hull City of Culture 2017 to Kit Room Craft for Hull Kingston Rovers.
It produces 150 tonnes of barley on the farm each year, which is turned into malt by Muntons in Flamborough 40 miles up the coast.
Hodgson family members remain deeply involved in the business, with Jonathan running the farm and their parents supporting with sales and events. His son James oversees the brewing, while Harry works on the farm. Catherine, Jonathan’s wife, manages the farm’s glamping operation, while Donna runs the office.
Matthew puts the brewery’s success down to its commitment to quality, customer service, and community involvement.
“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.
“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 proud of all we’ve achieved, and that when our employees see our beer on a supermarket shelf or at a pub bar, they know they’ve played a part in getting it there.
“I want them to be proud of that and also to feel good about the part the brewery plays in the local community, helping to attract visitors to the region and supporting local charities through our festival and other activities.
“I’m looking forward to building on that and to brewing more great beers in the next 15 years.”
Great Newsome Brewery is selling Sleck Dust Limited Edition bottles and stemmed pint glasses to celebrate its 15th anniversary.
Visit https://www.greatnewsomebrewery.co.uk/ for more information.