“We’re going to take on the big boys!” - Cheers to Liversedge brewery after £50,000 investment
A craft ale brewery has reinvented itself after a £50,000 investment and now plans to go nationwide.
Mill Valley Brewery in Liversedge started as a hobby in 2015 and grew into a full-scale brewery with two bars serving their own ales.
At the start of 2020 the brewery, run by Steve Hemingway and wife Wendy, was gearing up for its busiest ever year.
But then the Covid-19 pandemic struck, pubs and bars were shut and Steve’s business was on the rocks.
With the support of his loyal customers Steve has invested in a £33,000 canning machine and he’s about to turn his local home delivery service into a nationwide operation.
Steve, 59, said: “We’re going to take on the big boys! I can’t see pubs and bars opening before July so we’ve had to reinvent our business strategy.
“In March last year we were gearing up for our busiest year with 30 beer festivals planned. We had £30,000 in stock but half the beer had to be poured down the drain.”
Steve has The Mill Bar at Woodroyd Mills in Cleckheaton where the brewery started out and also has a second bar at the Brew House, where he now brews his beer, in Halifax Road, Liversedge.
Lockdown meant he had to make two staff redundant and he’s still got two others on part-time furlough.
Steve’s hopes of outsourcing his beer to a canning factory failed as other brewers had the same idea and the industry giants soaked up capacity.
So Steve decided to invest in his own canning machine but he also needed carbonation and a cooling system, an investment of some £50,000.
Steve turned to his customers and raised £9,000 with 180 donations to his Crowdfunder and that money, combined with Government-backed loans, means he’s ready to push on again.
Steve and Wendy have covered their basic bills with local delivery and click-and-collect but have a new website about to go live and will deliver their beer nationally instead of the current 10-mile radius.
Steve is also waiting on new designs for the cans and will then unleash his beers – including Panther pale ale named after the motorbikes built in Cleckheaton and the award-winning Chocolate Orange Stout and Fudge Brownie Stout – on the UK market.
“We’ve adapted and we just have to keep going,” said Steve.