Yorkshire-based Ilkley Brewery is celebrating its fifth year anniversary this week with the unveiling of its 1000th brew: a Darjeeling and blackberry infused brown ale called Mash Tonne.
6,000 pints of the anniversary beer have been made by lead brewer, Christa Sandquist, and the first pint will be pulled at a celebration event this Thursday, 1 May, at Bar t’at in Ilkley, West Yorkshire.
Mash Tonne will also have a special London launch on 7 May at the Hack & Hop pub in the City. This will be Ilkley Brewery’s first partnership with the Pubs of Distinction group.
Bar t’at, part of Yorkshire pub group Market Town Taverns, has been chosen as the Ilkley anniversary venue in honour of it being the first pub to permanently stock Ilkley Brewery beer back in 2009.
“I’m really pleased Chris and the team at Ilkley Brewery have chosen Bar t’at to launch Mash Tonne,” remarked Market Town Taverns managing director, Simon Midgley. “We have enjoyed a great relationship with the brewery for the past five years due to a shared passion for great, locally sourced beer and are proud to support such a great Yorkshire brewery,” he added.
Made with a cold infusion of black Darjeeling tea and finished with fresh blackberries, Mash Tonne is a 5.5% ale featuring a combination of British and American hops.
Speaking about the milestone brew and five year anniversary, Chris Ives, managing director of Ilkley Brewery, said: “This time five years ago, I had really only just learned how to make beer so to be here celebrating our 1000th brew alongside our fifth year anniversary, is actually a bit hard to believe!
“We’re marking the occasion the only way we know how: by brewing a momentous beer. Christa has created an exciting and quite unusual brown ale and I think it captures where we are as a brewery perfectly.”
Five years in figures
Since brewing its first firkin in 2009, Ilkley Brewery has racked up a host of commendations and awards as well as UK-wide pub, bar, supermarket and restaurant listings, and, more recently, overseas deals.
In figures, the last five years has seen Ilkley Brewery*:
- Brew a running total of 5 million pints
- Use 425 tonnes of barley
- Add approximately 8.5 tonnes of hops
- Pump over 3 million litres of water into its brews
- Clock up 7,000 brewing hours
During this time, the brewery’s turnover has more than doubled year-on-year and its staff has jumped from one to 14. In 2009, the furthest the brewery distributed was only a few miles in each direction of the brewery; now, it ships its beers across the UK and as far afield as the USA, Sweden and China.
Chris concluded: “When we first started to brew, the microbrewery boom was just beginning to peak and I think that thirst for beer which is big on flavour and which captures people’s imaginations, has been the driving force behind our strategy to make the best, most inspiring beer possible.
“We also make it our business to continually gather feedback from customers to ensure we’re tweaking and perfecting our products wherever possible. I think this willingness to involve customers in the process has helped the business evolve and improve over the years.
“Suffice it to say, as we celebrate year five, we couldn’t have made it this far without the efforts of our passionate and hardworking staff, the friends and partners we have made along the way and our loyal customers. This is truly a team effort and we thank everyone for their support in reaching this Mash Tonne milestone.”
*Figures are approximate.
Brewery team toasts its 1000th brew. Back row, from left: Jonny Moore, Ian Buxton, Christa Sandquist and Nick Smith. Front: Chris Ives, managing director of Ilkley Brewery.
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Notes to editors:
The Ilkley Brewery Co. Ltd. was founded in January 2009 and commenced brewing in May 2009. The now famous Mary Jane, the brewery’s flagship session beer was first brewed in August 2009 and won its first award in September of the same year.
In January 2011, Ilkley Brewery secured a debt and equity package from Glentrool Capital Partners LLP, who also provide corporate support to help grow the company. This enabled Ilkley Brewery to move from its premises on East Parade to a new 2,600 square foot brewery on Ashlands Road, Ilkley. A new 20 barrel brewing plant was installed allowing the brewery to initially produce 23,000 pints a week.
In October 2011, a 30 barrel fermenter was acquired, taking production to over 32,000 pints a week. By March 2012, production capacity had increased to 40,000 pints a week and in 2014, with the addition of further cask filling equipment, the brewery produces 50,000 pints a week.
In January 2012, Ilkley Brewery was crowned one of Yorkshire’s most promising companies in the Government-backed Local Business Accelerators campaign, going onto win the national prize in August 2012 for being one of the country’s fastest growing and successful businesses.
April 2012 saw the launch of the Origins range, showcasing the best in beer styles and brewing techniques from around the world. Medina and Siberia were the first collaboration brews with renowned beer writers, Melissa Cole and Pete Brownn, respectively. The Chief, Dinner Ale, Wit Marie, Green Goddess and Holy Cow have since followed to much critical acclaim.
As of August 2012, bottles of Mary Jane, Joshua Jane, Ilkley Black and Ilkley Pale are available in Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Booths supermarkets across the north of England, as well as many restaurants nationally.
At the SIBA 2013 awards, the brewery was was awarded gold for Ilkley Black, The Chief and Dinner Ale and bronze for Holy Cow. At the Guild of Fine Food Great Taste Awards 2013, Joshua Jane scooped two gold stars.
The brewery now exports its beers to America, Scandinavia and China.
In April 2014, the brewery celebrated its fifth anniversary and marked its 1000th brew by creating a beer called Mash Tonne.