Cumberland Breweries, now the Great Corby Brewhouse, is bouncing back after the hospitality lockdown.
Dr Neil Hudson, right, with David Corkill and Robert Cowan at Great Corby Brewhouse. Photograph: Great Corby Brewhouse
The brewery was part of US-based Alltech Limited before it was acquired by businessman David Corkill late last year. David became a fan of its ales after taking over The Queen Inn, which sits just yards from the brewery in Great Corby.
The brewery supplies around 70 pubs, bars and hotels, reaching down into Lancashire and across to Durham. Corby Blonde is the best seller in a range that also includes favourites such as Corby Ale, Lakeland Summit, and Signal Peak APA.
Head brewer Tim Hughes and his team are now almost back to pre-pandemic production levels, brewing up to five times a week, and this is giving the business a nice headache.
David said: “We’re reaching capacity, which means we’re giving a lot of thought to what we do next. As the hospitality trade has re-opened there’s been a real enthusiasm from people to get back out and do what they enjoy.”
Mr Corkill outlined the brewery’s recovery to local MP Dr Neil Hudson, a member of the House of Commons Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs Select Committee. The Penrith and The Border MP was given a tour of facilities and also visited The Queen Inn, co-owned by David and business partner Robert Cowan.
Plans for low-alcohol beer and more online sales
Dr Hudson said: “It is fantastic to see this brewery going from strength to strength after what has been such a difficult time for small breweries. I was very impressed by the positive attitude of David and Robert and their teams, not only to keep going throughout the challenges they have faced, but to make exciting plans for the business in the future.
“Their success is down to their dedication and teamwork and is very well deserved.”
David added: “Buying a brewery in the midst of a pandemic was always going to have challenges, but now we’re back and introducing more new customers to our ales. We’ve always had faith that as soon as restrictions were lifted people would want to socialise and enjoy eating out and having a drink again.
“Since taking over we’ve had lockdowns and restrictions, but we’ve used that time to develop our plans, re-branded, and moved into online sales. As we’ve been able to get back on the road, we’ve made further gains in getting our ales onto the pumps at more venues.”
The Brewhouse has plans to move into the no- and low-alcohol market, as well as build its online sales, which became a popular option for fans unable to get to their local during the lockdowns.