Tetley’s might have called last orders in Leeds – but the city’s proud brewing tradition is showing no sign of a hangover from its departure.
The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) today pinpointed West Yorkshire as one of the country’s hotbeds of beer production.
Camra’s latest edition of its Good Beer Guide says the county is home to 57 breweries, the highest total for any single part of the UK.
Eight have opened in the last 12 months alone, with newcomers in and around Leeds including Collingham Ales and Rodley’s Sunbeam Ales.
Others featuring in the book for the first time include Hemsworth’s Hamelsworde Brewery and Ossett’s Malthouse Brewery. Good Beer Guide editor Roger Protz said: “West Yorkshire has always been a strong area for beer, with Leeds, Bradford, Castleford, Halifax and Huddersfield, as well as many more smaller towns, boasting hundreds of fantastic real ale pubs.”
The figures were hailed by Yorkshire Evening Post beer writer Simon Jenkins as proof of the vibrancy of the county’s drinking scene.
He said: “The success of some pioneering microbreweries has encouraged lots more to come into the market. In Leeds this has certainly been helped by the departure of Tetley’s which left a huge vacancy for others to fill.”
Today’s release of the Good Beer Guide comes as Kirkstall Brewery celebrates a milestone of its own.
The brewery has just taken charge of its first pub, the Bridge Inn at Kirkstall – and it is confident its planned changes will go down a treat.
Sales manager John Kelly said: “It’s been a bit unloved and we felt sad driving past it every day. The potential is for it to be a pub at the beating heart of a thriving community.”
Founded in Leeds in 1822, Tetley’s became part of the Carlsberg drinks empire in the 1990s. The Danish firm ended production of Tetley’s beer at Hunslet in 2011, with work being shifted instead to plants in Tadcaster, Hartlepool and Wolverhampton.
Independent brewery BrewDog is giving customers the chance to buy shares in the company over the bar in Leeds.
The shares can be purchased at the recently-opened BrewDog venue at White Cloth Hall.
The brewery’s co-founder, James Watt, said today: “Anyone who enters one of our haunts will see a community of people who are as passionate about beer as we are and we want our loyal fans to share in our growth.”
People buying shares in BrewDog also get a lifetime five per cent discount in all 11 of the bars it runs in the UK.