A Keswick-based brewing company has gone from strength to strength since it moved to its site on the aptly named Brewery Lane nearly 15 years ago.
When Keswick Brewing Company owner Sue Jefferson first saw the building advertised she didn’t know the name of the road it was on or that it was in fact the site of the oldest brewery known to have been in the town – The Keswick Brewery Company.
The building was then owned by Allerdale Borough Council but had a number of guises since it was built in the 1800s, including being an auction mart, with cattle being watered down at the nearby River Greta, a shared yard for mechanics and a joiners, as well as offices and a council yard for street cleaning.
Sue said: “I was looking for a number of years for a building we could use as a brewery, but it was always difficult as so many barns, which would have been perfect, were snapped up to be converted into homes.”
In December 2005, building work on the initial refurbishment of the site began with the first production beers launched at the Dog and Gun, Lake Road and the Keswick Beer Festival in June the following year.
Sue said: “During the initial renovations we uncovered a beautiful wood carving completed by one of the joiners who had been based on the site, and details on the number of evacuees who came to Keswick during the Second World War. But pride of place in our collection goes to an old map given to me which shows the layout of the site and the fact there was a brewery here in the 1800s.”
Thirst Run was the company’s first ale to be launched with Keswick Gold, its best seller, coming to the pumps a little later as the demand for lower strength beers grew. In 2010, Thirst Quencher became a regional winner in the Great British Beer Festival.
The company, which brews around 6,000 pints of beer on the premises every week, has received numerous accolades for its ales and beers including gold awards for KSB in cask and Dark Horse in bottle and keg. However, the brewery became a victim of its own success and Sue and her team were running out of production space.
Sue said: “Buying the building from Allerdale Borough Council a couple of years ago was a turning point, enabling us to complete two extensions.
“We run regular brewery tours and now have the popular Fox Tap Bar, which allows us to run brewery socials – when not under COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. Our lovely landscaped beer garden has been described by customers as a ‘little hidden gem’.”
Sue and her team of five split their time between various aspects of the business and “muck in” wherever needed.
“Although the current four-week lockdown will have an impact on the brewery, we still have bottled beers for sale via our online shop,” added Sue.