It was very much a case of hope springs eternal when North Brewing Company moved into their new home last November, with no idea when they could welcome thirsty punters.
Just a week before the country was first locked down in March last year, the lease had been signed for the thriving multi award-winning company to make a former tannery on Leeds’ Buslingthorpe Lane their Springwell headquarters in a multi-million pound investment.
The 21,000 square foot site provided the opportunity to double their capacity – to around 2.8 million pints a year – and open a taproom that could hold 500 people under one roof.
While so many businesses struggled or were forced to close due the coronavirus pandemic, North Brewing Company increased turnover despite its seven bars and taprooms being closed for months.
The ‘North Beer Club’ monthly subscription proved to be popular, while baskets for beer lovers throughout the United Kingdom and overseas filled in the online webshop.
Collaborations were formed with brewers in countries such as Japan and South America as the constantly evolving company continued to launch an array of new beverages, with popular core beers such as Sputnik increasingly present on supermarket shelves.
Glasses were raised to celebrate a Best Brewing Company award at the end of March and just a few weeks later, punters were finally able to discover where Springwell had sprung after restrictions were eased.
April 16 marked the start of an opening weekend which saw 300 covers served across 50 tables, with a buzz in the air and anticipation of even better times to come.
Family and friends remembered what it was like to have a social life again as the al-fresco drinks flowed.
Asian street food vendors Little Bao Bun also made up for a lost time at a quirky venue that will hold Eat North street food festivals every weekend, with DJs also putting a spring in the step.
Springwell is proof and a prime example that there is no need to embark on a bar crawl when you have everything you need in one place, with such a variety of drinks to sample and great vibes guaranteed.
Following a year with so much doom and gloom, North Brewing Company is a refreshing example of a triumph in the face of adversity, six years after it was formed by John Gyngell and Christian Townsley.
Perhaps more a case of hops spring eternal. We will drink to that….
Photograph by Amy Heycock, provided by North Brewing Co via Pete Thompson.