30 Years (2013) – Harrogate Brewery

Speaking with Matthew from Harrogate Brewery it’s pretty clear that, albeit unexpectedly, they were thrown into the deep end when they acquired the brewery in early 2020. Initially planned as a joint venture with previous owner of 7 years, Anton, things didn’t quite work out that way as Matthew explains, “We did originally plan to go into a 50/50 partnership with him, however Anton had a lot going on at the time and decided it was best to step away from the brewery completely, leaving us in a situation where we could purchase the whole brewery or leave it.”

Of course, they decided to take on the brewery in its entirety not wanting to pass up on the opportunity which they were suddenly presented with. Thankfully, Anton stayed on for a couple of months to allow a transition period for the team of 5 to get accustomed to how the once one-man-band operation was being run. “We promised to continue with Anton’s amazing traditional ale recipes however with a bit of a colourful rebrand to add our own stamp,” Matthew told me. “We also developed the beer range by introducing more modern craft beers like a NEIPA and DIPA, as well as producing a new Harrogate Best bitter which recently won a Gold Award in the North SIBA competition.”

Their influence since taking over doesn’t stop there with Matthew going on to say, “Prior to the takeover the brewery had a range of cask ale and 3 different 500ml bottles available, since then we have grown the cask ale range and produced 10 different 500ml bottles, 7 440ml cans and a variety of keg beer. We are also excited to have a Harrogate Lager currently in production going into 330ml bottles.” Taking a series of lockdowns into consideration during this time also, it’s safe to say the brewery has done pretty well to achieve this in a relatively short period of time.

Despite recently acquiring the brewery, it’s clear to see they have some influence and a part to play in the local beer scene in and around Harrogate. This is celebrated between 20th-26th of September via Harrogate beer week with a plethora of events taking place in the spa town, which is unfortunately timed for Matthew and his team. “We unfortunately planned this week as a week to have some time off! We have been working flat out since the takeover and planned to have a small break after summer,” he said. “However we have been keen to get involved as much as possible. . . . We have worked on a collaboration beer with Turning Point to celebrate the beer week, as well as being involved in a food & beer pairing session at Cold Bath Deli and a beer tasting quiz at Disappearing Chin.”

Taking on a new brewery is one thing, but mixing that with the world partially going into meltdown must’ve been hard work for the team, so I don’t think anyone would begrudge them some much needed time off. Looking on to the future, Matthew advised that they are looking at the potential of expanding beyond the shores of our small island, with recent ventures into exports to Sweden, Netherlands and Italy. Beyond that, it’s as much of a mystery to them as it is to anyone else, “It’s hard to say what to expect from us in the next 6-12 months as we barely know what we’re doing in the next 1-2 weeks. Plans are constantly changing, particularly with the brewing schedule,” he said.

“We do plan to introduce a Mild to our traditional range in the next month or so, a somewhat rare ale on the modern beer scene that has been heavily requested from our Italian audience – so we’ll see how that goes! Without giving too much away, we are always looking to grow, develop and expand. We do listen to our customers and take on board their thoughts and ideas as we make decisions, I suppose they will help shape our path over the next year!”

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