About Hesket Newmarket Brewery
The brewery was first set up in 1988 by Jim and Liz Fearnley, who at that time ran the Old Crown in Hesket Newmarket, in a converted barn at the back of the pub. The beers were brewed exclusively for the Old Crown, which soon became a Mecca for real ale enthusiasts.
As the brewery's reputation spread across Cumbria, a number of other pubs expressed interest in the beers, and a small network of loyal outlets was gradually established. In 1995 Jim and Liz decided to sell the Old Crown and concentrate on the brewery. When the Fearnley's announced their intention to retire in 1999 a group of enthusiasts came together to work out how best they could ensure the survival of the brewery in the village. So was born the Hesket Newmarket Brewery Co-operative, a community enterprise run on democratic and voluntary principles, through which around 60 real ale enthusiasts (who either lived locally or had local connections) owned equal shares in the brewery. Over the years the number of shareholders has grown to around 100 and there is a very healthy waiting list.
Although the brewery still operates from its barn setting, the original modified dairy tanks have been replaced by a completely new brewing plant capable of producing 50 barrels (nearly 15000 pints) a week. Alongside this a brand new temperature controlled storage facility has been built, which was opened by Prince Charles in 2004. These developments allowed new levels of quality and consistency to be achieved.
Small scale bottling of some of the most popular beers commenced in early 2006 and these are available from the brewery and many of our outlets. Prince Charles visited us again in 2007 to view the new bottling facilities.
The brewery still maintains close ties with the Old Crown, which has also become a co-operative, each owning a share in the other.