A NORTH Yorkshire micro-brewery is enjoying record sales as the hospitality industry recovers from the pandemic.

Pennine Brewing Company, a family-run brewer based at Well, near Bedale, is taking advantage of the growing thirst for its range of draught and bottled ales.

Rishi Sunak recently visited the brewery and praised the owners and staff for their resilience during the pandemic and their enterprise as the pub, hotel and restaurant sector has revived

During his tour, the Richmond (Yorks) MP, saw Pennine’s best-selling Millie George blonde ale – named after the owners’ daughter – being brewed.

Head brewer Tim Butler said business had been good since June as the hospitality sector had opened up.

He said: “The bulk of our beers are distributed to pubs in Yorkshire, the North-East, Lancashire and down as far as Derbyshire – the area roughly covered by the Pennines – and these areas have enjoyed a bumper summer with staycation tourism. That has definitely boosted our sales.

He added that while the sales of their bottled beers, which had increased dramatically online during the period when the hospitality sector was shut, had dropped off slightly, it was still an important part of the business.

“During lockdown we expanded our retail network – particularly in places like farm shops – and we have retained those outlets,” Mr Butler said.

The changes to alcohol duties Mr Sunak announced in the Budget, particularly the cut to draught beer duty of five per cent, was welcomed by Pennine’s owners Gary Hutchinson and Debbie Clayton.

Mr Hutchinson said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Rishi to the brewery. His positivity and interest in our business was apparent and a real boost for all of the team. We welcome the recently-announced Budget announcements. The draught beer relief will be of real benefit to our business.”

Mr Sunak said he enjoyed meeting the Pennine team, including Gary and Debbie’s son Eain and daughter Millie George.

He said: “It great to see a small brewer making such good progress with their varied range of craft ales prepared with skill and experience by Tim and his team. They are enjoying significant growth on the back of the recovery in the hospitality sector and taking advantage of the new routes to market they developed during the height of the pandemic.