A leading North East restaurateur is hoping to bottle the secret to success by launching his own microbrewery.
Mark Hird, owner of a number of independent eateries and Managing Director of hospitality firm Tavistock Leisure Ltd, is investing more than £200,000 in setting up the Sonnet 43 Brew House, which will adjoin the Kicking Cuddy pub at Coxhoe, County Durham.
Work to build the site – named after the well-known verse by Elizabeth Barratt Browning who was born and raised at nearby Coxhoe Hall – is expected to be completed in the coming days, with the first bottles rolling off the production line by the end of the month.
The microbrewery will also form part of the Kicking Cuddy’s wider transformation into a traditional brew pub, which will ultimately be known as the Sonnet 43 Brew House, Tasting Room and Restaurant and will serve craft beers as well as a variety of classical British cuisine, made with a modern twist using locally sourced produce.
This marks a return to the once golden age of brewing, when pubs across the UK would produce their own drinks to be sold on site. Though this practice died out primarily with the rise of large scale commercial brewers in the 1500s, it has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years thanks to drinkers’ growing demands for well-produced and flavoursome beers rather than those that are mass-produced.
Mark said: “The craft beer market is one of the only sectors in the pub industry that has shown strong growth in recent years and I’m really excited about playing a role and supporting the shift from mass-produced beers to ones that have been more lovingly crafted.”
Production at Sonnet 43 will focus initially on four varieties– Steam Beer, Indian Pale Ale, Brown Ale and American Pale Ale – all of which are targeted specifically at the modern market and use warm fermentation temperatures to ensure they are ready to drink within weeks of being made, rather than needing to develop over longer periods. These will be sold in Tavistock-owned venues across the North East, including sites in Hartlepool, Durham, South Tyneside, Sunderland and Gateshead, as well as being made available for purchase by other bars and restaurants across the UK.
If this proves successful Mark, head brewer Michael Harker and their team of specially appointed graduates and brewing apprentices hope to add more lines to Sonnet 43 in the coming months, with longer term plans to open additional microbreweries and brew pubs across the North East.
Mark said: “I’ve had a strong interest in craft beers for a few years now and it really took off when I attended a course with Sunderland-based Brew Lab last year. Now, after realising the scope we have to produce beers not only for Tavistock’s own sites but for other venues across the UK, I’m confident that Sonnet 43 is the way forward.”
For more information about Sonnet 43 call the brew house direct on 0191 3773039 or email firstname.lastname@example.org