It’s onwards and upwards for two local businesses
A local brewery and a branch of a national pub chain joined forces this week to spread an optimistic message about real ale. At a time when research shows that a staggering fifty pubs a week are closing, Lancaster Brewery at an event organised by the Sir Richard Owen, unveiled bold plans for expansion. And the pub, part of the JD Wetherspoon chain, was equally positive about the future of cask conditioned beer.
At a “meet the brewer” evening, Lancaster Brewery owner Matt Jackson mingled with customers — including those drinking lager — and urged them to try real ale. Drinkers who were already “converts” needed no persuading: the four Lancaster beers (Amber, Black, Red and Blonde) were, it was agreed, on cracking form and went down well with visitors and regulars alike — keg drinkers included.
Manager of the Sir Richard Owen, Dan Lambert, spoke enthusiastically of his commitment to cask conditioned ale, and his plans for future beer festivals. “I want to raise the profile of “living beer” among our customers generally, which involves keeping a good cellar and ensuring that we promote a wide variety of real ales.”
Dan doesn’t underestimate the challenge, or the competition. “This town is an amazing place for cask beer — there are so many first rate outlets. That’s why these on-going festivals featuring independent and micro breweries are key to our expansion strategy.”
The Lancaster Brewery team on the night, which included Head Brewer Will Pammenter, Brewery Manager Mark Westall, and Kim Robinson, Project Manager, exuded enthusiasm as they talked with customers.
“We need the capacity to manage bigger contracts,” said Matt Jackson, explaining the decision to double production at the brewery. “And I’m very excited that from 1st September all our brands will be available in bottles. We have contracts to supply the bottled version in Sweden, Norway and Holland, and possibly in the US. And, of course, the beers will be available locally.”
The Lancaster Brewery festival at The Sir Richard Owen continues until the end of the week. Previous festivals featured Thwaites and Hawkshead beers. Watch this space for details of the future programme.