The future’s bright for an independent Cumbrian brewery and for the Lancaster pub that hosted a meet-the-brewer evening. Hawkshead, the firm founded by ex-BBC journalist Alex Brodie, and the Sir Richard Owen, one of the city’s two Wetherspoon’s outlets, are showing that a winning formula gets results even during a recession.
Richard Owen manager, Jeff Winder, told CAMRA: “Real ale sales are on the up, unlike lager. Regional cask ales, such as this fine selection from Hawkshead, are increasingly popular with our customers, so much so that I’ve set a sales target of 2000 pints of real ale a week — and I’m confident we can reach it.”
Anne Gallagher, Hawkshead’s dynamic sales manager, describing trade as “buoyant”, revealed that the company’s 20 barrel plant was having to brew five times a week to keep up with demand. In addition on 8th June the Cumbrian brewer will launch a new blonde beer, the 3.5% Windermere Pale, which she described as “an easy drinking summer ale, ideal for the holidays.”
Anne paid tribute to the work of the Richard Owen and Wetherspoon’s generally in promoting Hawkshead beers. “They, and all our other customers, have helped us arrive at a position where we are now classed as a local brewery rather than a micro.” A brewery ceases to be defined as a micro when it produces in excess of 18,000 hectolitres of ale a year.
As well as enjoying four draught beers on hand pump — Hawkshead Bitter, Brodie’s Prime, Hawkshead Red and Hawkshead Richard Owen Bitter, brewed specially for the event — Lunesdale CAMRA members were able to try two bottled beers: a 5.0% pilsner, Lakeland Lager, and the deliciously rich organic oatmeal Stout (4.5%).
The Hawkshead festival at the Richard Owen runs to the end of the week.
Note for old timers: a hectolitre is about 22 gallons