A REAL ale enthusiast has finally quenched his thirst to open his own brewery in Burnley.
Retired policeman Mr Michael Whittaker has long enjoyed a pint brewed by himself at home in Worsthorne, but has now decided to branch out and let others share a drink.
The 58-year-old has formed his own micro brewery, The Worsthorne Brewing Company Ltd, where he lovingly creates beer, from malt and hops to the finished product – filling glasses and stomachs in pubs around East Lancashire.
He is the latest in a long line of Burnley brewers to practise the ancient art.
He said: “I brewed my own beer at home for many years and am largely self-taught, but I finally decided to take the plunge and open my own brewery.
“The brewery is actually based in Oxford Mill at Briercliffe, because I couldn’t find any suitable premises in Worsthorne.
“I’ve put my own money into buying the equipment, which has been a big outlay, but I’m building up my customer base now and it’s really exciting.”
At a time when the pub industry is facing its most challenging period, the emergence of micro breweries up and down the country has been a shining light in the beleaguered trade. Real ale campaigners Camra have been credited with the resurgence.
Mr Whittaker brews five different ales at the brewery where he works as a one-man band. It has the capability to produce 40 casks a week.
He added: “I sell to pubs in Burnley, Pendle, the Ribble Valley and Rossendale. I am also providing casks to beer festivals around the area.
“I plan to send a special Christmas ale out, and hope to start producing bottles by October. It’s hard work because I’m doing it all myself, but I have had a lot of advice from Dave Porter, who works for the Outstanding Beer Company. Burnley Enterprise Trust has also helped because this is the first time I’ve run my own business.”
At the moment, Mr Whittaker is limited to selling only to free houses whereas most pubs are owned by companies which provide their own beer.
“I am in the process of joining CIBA which will allow me to sell my beer to pub companies. It was a new challenge for me, but I thought it was now or never.”