Lee Forshaw, owner of the Withy Arms pub in Leyland, is all set to start work on a new micro brewery on the site which will be called the Ribble Brewery Towngate.
Picture by Paul Heyes, Friday February 24, 2017.
Many people dream of owning their own brewery.
Well now you can – and it will be right on your doorstep. For a new Leyland brewery – which could be turning out more than 20,000 pints a week – is set to launch at the end of the year. And residents are being offered the opportunity to become shareholders in the exciting £200,000 project.
Plans for the Ribble Brewery Towngate Limited are well advanced. It will be set up next to the popular Withy Arms in Worden Lane, creating new jobs and regenerating the economy of the area. The new micro brewery is being launched by the Withy Arms Group. Pub owner and group director Lee Forshaw said: “We got the idea about three years ago, because we’ve got a bit of wasteland at the back of the pub and it’s just not utilised. That was the natural place to put it.
“We’ve got twenty eight handpulls throughout our organisation”.
“We’ve got two house beers, WA Bitter and Odd Job. They’re our own recipes,We’re having them brewed off-site in Northallerton. They’ll be brewed at the new brewery.” Not only is a new brewery coming to Leyland an exciting proposition – but Lee is also buzzing because folk can truly become part of the new venture as shareholders.
“We think we’ll have to raise roughly £200,000 – that’s our own money and raising it through Crowdfunding,” he said. “We’re in the preliminary stage and working with the council on Crowdfunding. “It’s enabling the people of Leyland to become part of it. “They can put in a minimum of £10 or a maximum as much as you want. I think it’s great. “I want people to be part of it ,even if it’s just £10″.
“For £10 they’ll have part of a brewery – and you never know, bigger breweries are buying out micro breweries. “They will have the option of selling their shares to other people or back to the brewery, get dividend payments. There will be shareholder nights and meet the brewer.” The brewery will create four full time jobs.”
“We’ll have brewers, assistant brewers, drivers,” said Lee, who also expects the business to regenerate the old Cross area. “I know we’ve got our pub there, which is really successful, but that end of town, round the Cross is a bit abandoned which is a real shame.” As for the construction itself, Lee said: “It will be a brand new purpose-built building at the back of the Withy Arms. “It’s going to be a brick building in keeping with the conservation area. “We’re going to utilise a lot of the cobbles that existed there.”
“There will be a viewing gallery and you’ll be able to see the beer being brewed when it’s in production. “I’m hoping we can put a spade in June or July and have it operational by Christmas.”
The brewery will be an 11-barrel plant which would produce an average of 22,000 pints per week at full capacity. A national wholesaler has already expressed an interest in stocking Odd Job, which is named after Lee’s father, said Lee. Mick Clark, communications officer for the Central Lancashire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale, said: “The Withy Arms Group have experience of running good pubs. “They’ve set up three very successful pubs and are supportive of traditional real ale, so we’re all eagerly anticipating the new brewery. We hope it will be a great success.”