Beer-mad brothers turn homebrew hobby into a business in Leeds

Brothers Baz and Graeme Phillips of The Meanwood Brewery. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe
Brothers Baz and Graeme Phillips of The Meanwood Brewery. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe
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Two beer-mad brothers are toasting their success after transforming their home-brew hobby into a boozy business in Leeds.

Baz and Graeme Phillips set up The Meanwood Brewery from an outbuilding at Baz’s home in the north Leeds suburb earlier this year after deciding to turn their love of the amber nectar into a profession.

The Meanwood Brewery

The Meanwood Brewery

And business is already booming.

Fresh from an impressive debut at the Meanwood Fun Day this summer – which saw their beer sell out – the pair have new equipment to double their brewing capacity and have just been granted a wholesale licence by HMRC to stock their creations in ale shops across the city.

And this weekend the duo are brewing up for one of their biggest events yet – the Meanwood Beer Festival, where every drinker will receive a bottle of their ale with their ticket.

Graeme, 36, said feedback so far has been “overwhelmingly positive”.

“At the fun day we were absolutely inundated and for two of the four hours we had a queue of 50 people waiting. Our beer sold out which was a big achievement for us. It gave us the sense of confidence that we are doing the right thing.”

The pair are originally from Middlesbrough, where their love of beer first began, but have both since settled into Meanwood, with Graeme now quitting his day job as an operational manager to work full-time in the brewery.

Dad-of-one Baz, 33, who still juggles his day job as a student support officer for online university students, said: “As with many brewers, we started brewing at home from kits and worked our way up to all grain brewing. We decided to try and do more with the hobby about a year ago as we’d already started becoming a bit obsessive and brewing had started taking over all our free time anyway.

“We’ve been working on recipes for the last year and the million other things that go along with setting up a business that you don’t think of until you start doing it.”

Their current creations include the 3.9% session pale ale Herald, a 5.1% ‘neither lager nor ale’ Shapeshifter, their oak-aged 4.9% porter Black Goddess and newest beer, Exile, a 3.4% blackberry crumble Berliner Weisse which will be debuted at this weekend’s beer festival.

The enterprising duo now have grand plans to open a micropub and onsite brewery in their “beloved” Meanwood and create what they call a ‘Microbrewpub’.

Graeme said: “It’s extremely exciting. And with the beer festival just around the corner, it’s an opportunity to get feedback, which is what we are all about really. It’s an absolute dream. I’ve always wanted to work for myself, so doing this is that moment I’ve thought about all that time.”

The Meanwood Beer Festival is organised by the Myrtle Tavern pubin support of Meanwood Valley Partnership and Meanwood Cricket Club.

It takes place on the cricket pitch, off Parkside Road, on Friday September 29 5-9.30pm and on Saturday September 30 from 2-9.30pm. Tickets £8.

For details on The Meanwood Brewery visit https://themeanwoodbrewery.com

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