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Young brewery bosses look to ramp up production
4:37pm Monday 14th October 2013 in News
A PAIR of entrepreneurs, who are believed to be among the youngest brewery owners in the country, are set to expand production by more than 30 per cent to keep pace with surging demand.
Wensleydale Brewery owners Geoff Southgate and Carl Gehrman said they would brew an extra 1,000 pints a week after gaining regular orders from 100 pubs, building an online shop and serving independent retailers since taking over the business.
Mr Southgate, 24, said when the previous owners pulled out earlier this year, doubts had hung over the future of the firm, based in Bellerby, near Leyburn.
After he pooled his resources with those of co-worker Mr Gehrman, 23, called on the community for support and bought the brewery.
Marking the brewery’s 10th anniversary with a new artisan ale, Decadence, the pair said much of the brewery’s success had been fostered by a resurgence in the real ale market and help from Yorkshire Dales firms.
Mr Gehrman said: “They know we’re local lads and people have supported us at every opportunity.”
Mr Southgate added: “During the summer we were not able to brew it fast enough and with the Tour de France due to pass us next year it would be daft not to make the most of it.
“More and more people are choosing real ales and especially artisan beers like ours that are locally produced.
“If people go out, they want something better for their £3 a pint than the sort of thing they can buy much cheaper in the supermarket.”
The pair said while they had not encountered problems being taken seriously due to their age, customers visiting the brewery had been stunned to realise the firm’s management had a combined age of 45 when they took it on.
Mr Southgate began working part-time for the brewery when it was based at the Foresters Arms in Carlton and he was still at school.
He said: “It is very difficult for people who are looking for gainful employment in the usual trades in the Dales and I don’t know what we would have turned to if we hadn’t bought the brewery.”
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