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Micro-brewery opens

Date 10 Oct 2006
Author bdaily.info
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A Northumberland couple are toasting success after the opening of a new micro-brewery visitor centre on their working farm in Northumberland.

Founded in 2003, after the foot and mouth outbreak, High House Farm Brewery now produces three bottled ales and six cask ales, including seasonal ales and one-offs, and has won several Campaign for Real Ale awards. The centre was opened by Paul Mooney, BBC Weather Forecaster and the local M.P. Peter Atkinson. The brewery and beer was also blessed by the parish vicar.

The brewery grows all the barley on their own farm, which is then used as malt in their real ale recipes. The best seller is the Nel’s Best, 4.2% ABV inspired by Nel, the friendly working collie dog.

The micro-brewery visitor centre is based in their converted 19th century granary and byre, and it includes a shop selling cask and bottled ale and polypins to the public, as well as handmade luxury beer chocolates, preserves and toiletries and arts and crafts from local producers. A £100,000 grant from the ERDP helped the couple with all conversion and set up costs. High House Farm Brewery and Farm now employs nine local people.

Sally Urwin, one of the micro-brewery founders, said: “The farm is managed in a traditional, non-intensive manner and we want to do all we can to preserve the wonderful environment in which we work. We’re hoping the new attraction will bring more visitors to the area and appeal to walkers.”

Frances Rowe, Rural and Environment Manager at One NorthEast said: “Steven and Sally Urwin have done a fantastic job creating a thriving business in rural Northumberland. By diversifying they have not only added value to their own business but are providing jobs and playing a key role in supporting the local community. “The opening of the Brewery visitor centre marks an important milestone as it is the first project to be completed since One NorthEast took over responsibility on the 1st October for the former England Rural Development Programme (ERDP).”

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