Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley is getting a new craft brewpub with a beer garden

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A new brewery and bar with a 500 sq ft beer garden is set to open in Farsley's Sunny Bank Mills.

Co-founder and Director of Amity Brew Co, Russ Clarke, has gained experience at some of Leeds' and the UK's biggest craft beer names, including BrewDog, North Brewing Co and Beer Hawk.

He and his team have secured £75,000 of funding to launch an online shop and brewpub in the landmark mill, boosting Farsley's burgeoning independent food and drink scene.

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The 2,500 sq ft brewery and bar, which Russ hopes will be open by mid-October, will be located in the Festoon Rooms, with a paved outdoor beer garden overlooking the newly developed £2million Weavers Yard.

Co-founder and director of Amity Brew Co, Russ Clarke (picture: Neash photo/video).Co-founder and director of Amity Brew Co, Russ Clarke (picture: Neash photo/video).
Co-founder and director of Amity Brew Co, Russ Clarke (picture: Neash photo/video).

Tours and tastings are planned and Amity are looking to partner with a local eatery to provide food direct.

Russ, 36, is originally from the West Midlands but moved to Wetherby with his parents when he was ten.

He said: "Leeds I personally think is probably the best bar scene in the UK.

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"That might seem quite outlandish when you look at the scenes in some other cities but I think the Leeds community is so supportive and more inclusive.

A selection of Amity beers.A selection of Amity beers.
A selection of Amity beers.

"We are passionate about each other, because we realise that when the tide rises, it helps everyone."

He now lives in nearby Calverley and is a huge fan on Farsley's independent businesses.

"What I love about Farsley is it's starting to attract those really high quality businesses while still having that tight-knit, community feel," he said.

"It is just a brilliant little suburb."

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Amity Brew Co, head of communications Verity Clarke and co-founder Russ Clarke (picture: Neash photo/video).Amity Brew Co, head of communications Verity Clarke and co-founder Russ Clarke (picture: Neash photo/video).
Amity Brew Co, head of communications Verity Clarke and co-founder Russ Clarke (picture: Neash photo/video).

He added: “We are a group of friends who met on the craft beer scene having worked in the UK’s best breweries, so we know our stuff.

“We are inspired by the US model of a brewpub, making limited batch beer on-site and getting it into the hands of the community fresh and fast.”

Amity Brew Co has signed a ten year lease at Sunny Bank, following an injection of £50,000 from the Business Enterprise Fund and raising £25,000 from family.

Launching a new venture during a global pandemic might not seem like ideal timing, but Ross has seen the positives.

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The space will have social distancing at the heart of the design, including no seats at the bar, a one way system, maximising outdoor space and ensuring the tables and chairs that can be moved easily.

"We are adaptable and nimble enough to make sure that our plans can quickly change according to any government restrictions that might be passed in the future as we all adapt to the world with Covid-19,” Russ added.

“Launching a business post Covid-19 really adds the pressure on but we’ve been heartened to see how the local community has rallied together and we feel the brewpub is exactly what the community will embrace at this time."

Amity will be use cuckoo brewing - a practice where brewery’s hire out their kit - and head brewer Greig Swanson, formerly of Buxton Brewery and BrewDog, has created a core range of beers including a “helles” lager, an extra special bitter and an American pale ale, all named after Farsley landmarks.

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Russ is keen to work with local suppliers where possible and has appointed Wetherby-based Design Tonic, the interiors team behind Sarto, Headingley Stadium and the Masons Gin School, to design and fit the brewpub.

John Gaunt, joint managing director of mill owners Edwin Woodhouse and Co Ltd, said: ”We are really excited to welcome Amity Brew Co to Sunny Bank Mills.

"Just as the mill was home to manufacturing some of the best cloth in the world, we can’t wait to see Amity Brew Co brewing and selling high quality craft beers at Sunny Bank Mills.

"Amity Brew Co will be a superb addition to the Mill community, complementing Grumpy's and The Mill Kitchen and making it an even more attractive place to visit and work.

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“Sunny bank, one of the most famous family-owned mills in Yorkshire, has been transformed into a 21st century business centre.

"Altogether 70 companies are now on site, creating 350 new and sustainable jobs.”

Business Enterprise Fund's start-up loans manager, Julie Micklethwaite, said: “We are proud to have a legacy of supporting Yorkshire breweries over the years including Leeds Brewery and Northern Monk.

"The Amity Brew Co plan of maximising ecommerce to gain loyalty and brand recognition is a great model in the post-Covid world.

"We’re delighted to support new businesses get off the ground in this challenging economy.”

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