Brewing up success

CHEERS! Wombwell-based Acorn Brewery saw record sales last year and is bubbling ahead with new plans for expansion!

Last year saw the nine-year old company’s sales rise by 18 per cent, and the launch of its first pub - the historic Old No 7 in Barnsley town centre.

Acorn also has a new sales manager in the form of David Broadhead, who joins the company after working with Business Link Yorkshire.

Founder Dave Hughes created six new jobs with the pub opening, and now hopes to fuel many more with a possible second Acorn pub launch this year.

“It’s all down to finding the right property”, said Dave, 43. “I’d like to find a good community pub with a sizeable beer garden, and attract families. It would definitely be a food pub, linking beer and locally sourced produce.

“Ideally, it would be within a 10-mile radius of Wombwell.”

The Old No 7 has been open six months now, he added, and has proved a “fantastic showcase” for their beers. Dave has not entirely ruled out the idea of another town pub.

A 50-barrel fermenting unit and cold store helped to develop off-trade sales.

Acorn beers can be found in leading supermarkets, and the company supplies to off-licence chain Rhythm and Booze, that is based at Barnsley.

The pace has been so fast over the past few years it’s been hard to take in, admitted Dave.

“I look back at photos of me and our brewer, Steve Bunting, and wonder where the years have gone!”

His background as a chef working in top hotels and restaurants around Blackpool will stand him in good stead should he decide to embrace the pub food side in 2012.

But he plans to stay with beer brewing for some time to come...”I absolutely love it,” he said. “The flavours you can create by tweaking recipes. I love it as much now as when we started out eight years ago.

“It’s been a big learning curve, running our own pub for the first six months. There’s still a great deal to learn and we’ve got plenty of ideas to explore.”

A special Acorn Diamond Jubilee beer will be released very soon, and expansion at the Wombwell base is on the cards, with the hope of associated new positions in production and administration.

Acorn uses the same yeast strains as the original Barnsley Brewery, founded in the 1850s. Their many award-winning ales include the popular Barnsley Bitter.