The smell of hops comes from a garage in Penwortham on Easter Saturday.Advertisement
While many are getting last minute supplies in for the Easter weekend it’s a busy brewing day for one half of Bishops’ Crook brewery.
Ian Grant and Dave Bishop are creating a cult name for themselves since starting brewing six years ago.
From their first foray to home brew kits they now have a slick and professional operation which has turned their hobby into a small sideline business.
Ian, 45, said: “It all started when I got one of those home brew kits in 2010.
“Me and Dave had always kicked around the idea of brewing our own stuff and so we started. Just mainly for in the summer and for BBQs and the like. It was nice to have our own stuff to drink.”
From these humble beginnings they have now converted Ian’s garage into a brewery with the full kit to allow them to produce four casks a week.
Bishops’ Crook Initiate was their first pint and it went down so well at the St Gerrard’s beer festival it was the first to sell out.
“There’s a real appetite for good session ales,” says Ian, as he stirs the malts into his latest creation, “we see a lot of brewers doing the big percentage stuff but we want to create good drinkable stuff around the four per cent mark.
“We’re getting lots of orders in at the moment and we’re on tap in a number of places including the Guild Ale House in town. We seem to be popular in there.”
Ian says it is relatively simple to get started with our own home brew, but taking it to the next level has been an education.
He said: “We had to register as a company, and you also need to be registered for beer duty.
“I also advise going to the council early doors too. We’ve had no problems with South Ribble but you need to know what you can and can’t do in terms of setting up your brewery.”
Ian and Dave have invested in as much kit as they can, reinvesting any money made from supplying beer festivals and small craft ale pubs with their beers.
Each brew is meticulously logged on a sheet so they know how much beer duty to pay the tax man.
“It’s important to be above board,” says Ian, “and not least because Dave works for the police!
“We’ve been involved in brewing now for a number of years. Originally we just did the standard kits but I am an engineer so I was naturally curious to see if we could create our own brews rather than just following a sheet.”
Bishop’s Crook have no initial plans to expand their brewing capacity but Ian says they may do in the future.
He said: “We’re both not getting any younger so perhaps in a few years we might look to ramp it up.
“For the moment we’re just enjoying it. We brew as often as we can and people seem to really like our beers, when you see someone go up and get a second one of our pints then you know you’re doing it right.”
The pair have a website where they have information on where their beers are currently being served.
Have you ever tasted a Bishop’s Crook beer? Do you brew your own? Let us know in the comments below