Matt Osbourne, Lead Partner for Armstrong Watson, Leeds, has been working with and advising North Brewing Co over the last 12 months. Here Matt explores the qualities that make North Brewing Co, and the individuals that drive it, such a standout success.
Armstrong Watson has a long history of helping and advising entrepreneurial individuals and businesses across the Yorkshire region. These businesses are often born out of a real passion, the type of passion that drives businesses on, despite the multiple challenges they face in these uncertain times.
Across the country, our high streets are often filled with the disturbing site of vacated and shuttered pubs, clubs and restaurants, which has such a negative impact on our communities. However, the same cannot be said for one entrepreneurial business, the award-winning North Brewing Co and its founders John & Christian.
North Brewing Co
North Brewing Co was founded in 2015 by John Gyngell and Christian Townsley, the brains behind legendary Leeds beer venue North Bar, which opened in 1997. Known as “the first craft beer bar in Britain” North Bar influenced a new wave of modern beer bars and breweries across the country, including their own, with many citing the bar as one of the driving forces and influences behind the craft beer revolution in the UK.
The pair met whilst working as glass collectors in the early 90’s. They joined forces to open their own independent bar with the shared vision of blending global craft beer and local breweries, interesting wines and spirits, great quality food and eclectic music and art.
North Bar quickly became renowned for its alternative approach, quirky style and excellent, friendly service – winning the prestigious ‘Best places to drink in Britain’ in the Observer Food Monthly Awards.
In 2015 they turned their 10-year dream of making their own beer into a reality by opening a 15bbl brewery, featuring a 200-person capacity tap room, just half a mile from their original flagship North Bar in Leeds. The core range and seasonal specials epitomise what they look for in beer: big juicy flavours with tonnes of hops; fun, playful and interesting flavour combinations; classics that demonstrate an uncompromising approach to quality.
The growth of the brewery has been phenomenal, more than doubling each year. The brewery distributes throughout the UK, listed in three major supermarkets and exports to 18 countries around the world, covering most of mainland Europe, Australia, Singapore and China.
In 2018 they created a third business – North Brewing Leisure, this contains the front facing bar operation of the brewery. The first of these opened in November 2018, the North Brewing Tap Room, located on Sovereign Street in Leeds.
The North Brewing group is clearly destined for great things. Not only do they have a great product, but they have a clearly defined plan of where they want to get to and how they’re going to get there, and the passion and energy to make it happen. This is why we feel North Brewing Co is certainly one to watch.