Our series of interviews with local breweries is in full swing, if you have missed any of the previous articles you can view them all here. Some of the previous breweries we have talked to include Wylam, Steam Machine and Three Brothers Brewing.
Today’s interview is with Julia Austin owner of Tyne Bank Brewery. We first chatted with Julia back in 2015 and thought it was high time to catch up and see what has been going on with the brewery over the last couple of years.
Catch up with Tyne Bank Brewery
It’s just over 2 years since we last interviewed Tyne Bank, I’m sure a lot has happened in that time! Could you give us an idea of how the brewery has progressed since 2015?
In 2015 we knew we were outgrowing our existing premises and started making plans to move. This gave us the opportunity to consider doing things a bit differently and seeing if we could find suitable premises which would allow us to take a step towards the original vision of a brewery and tap room inspired by Granville Island brewery in Vancouver. Keen to remain true to our roots on the banks of the Tyne the search began and by the end of 2015 we found our new home, a characterful warehouse, originally a biscuit packaging factory and whose car park was the home of the old Newcastle East End Football club. After a successful crowd funding campaign we moved into our new home in September 2016 and opened the doors on the tap room late October. Recently we have launched our new can range which includes Strawberries and Cream a 3.8% pale ale, Rhubarb and Custard 4.4% pale ale, American IPA 6% as well as some of our old favourites.
Tell us about the crowdfunding campaign, why did you decide to go down the crowdfunding route?
The crowd funding route is a great way to engage Tyne Bank Brewery’s fans. We want each investor to become part of our DNA, to help Tyne Bank grow and share in the success. When you enter the tap room we proudly display the names of all investors.
The amount of breweries in the region and across the whole of the UK continues to rise, what challenges has this brought and how has Tyne Bank reacted to these challenges?
A competitive market is always great for the consumer, it pushes us to think outside the box to give that little bit extra whilst maintaining great customer service.
With the amount of breweries just in the North East continuing to rise do you feel we are reaching a saturation point for craft breweries?
Luckily the rise of the micropub opens up new markets, but on the other hand the larger pub chains are being restricted on how much local beer they can source. It is crowded but I guess that is the same for a lot of businesses. It is certainly a challenging industry but great fun.
Is there a feeling of competition among local breweries or is it more of a community and collaborative spirit?
I think mainly there is a community and collaborative spirit, malt and finings tend to flow between us as shortages or missed deliveries are normally covered by one local brewer to another or vice versa.
More and more independent breweries seem to opening up their own tap rooms. Do you feel this is going to be a growing and important trend for small breweries? What drove you to open your tap room?
I think the drinker is keen to see where his pint is manufactured and feel a connection with the beer and the brewery. The tap room is the perfect place for this to happen, here at Tyne Bank we are fortunate enough to have a split level building perfect for viewing the brewery whilst enjoying a pint or a brewery tour. The size of our space also makes it great for allsorts of events and parties.
Was it always the intention that the brewery would become a home for events?
When we looked for a new home it was key that the space allowed us to engage with the drinker. To allow visitors to see where the beer is being made whilst having a relaxing pint. Finding such a great space was awesome. The size of the open view tap room, its location in tbe Ouseburn, its proximity to public transport and the car park led us to become a great flexible event space.
What sort of events can people expect at Tyne Bank Brewery?
At Tyne Bank beer is at the heart of everything we do. The tap room is always free and open to enjoy a pint from Thursday 4-11, Friday through to Sunday 12-12. Each weekend sees us hosting different events from our weekly brewery tours, regular beer festivals, themed artisan craft markets, live music and DJ nights. Tyne Bank Tap is perfect for a night out, for a party celebration or even a wedding reception.
What is next for Tyne Bank Brewery?
This year we have settled into our new home, got to grips with the new kit and launched our new can range. Over the next few months we will be focusing on Christmas, we are lucky enough to be trading at Living North, Gateshead Christmas Market and the Newcastle Christmas market as well as hosting many events in out tap room.
In the brewery Adam and Ryan are busy test kitting some new brews and developing our special range for 2018. We are also hoping to focus on the export market in 2018.
Other than your own what is your favourite beer and brewery right now?
Ah well I think that may never change….. Southern Tier Brewing Company, Crème Brulee but as it is so difficult to find in the UK my second beer and brewery would be Brouwerij Ban Honsebrouch, Kastel Rouge.
A big thank you to Julia for giving up her time to answer our questions, we hope you found the interview interesting. If you did and you would like to help us spread the word about another great local business then please consider sharing this post on Facebook or Twitter.
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