As one of the sponsors of East Yorkshire’s premier tourism awards, the Bridlington Free Press this week continues its occasional series, Pride of East Yorkshire, looking at local companies associated with the industry.
Here, we feature the award-winning East Yorkshire brewery Wold Top, based at Wold Newton.
As producers of award-winning English beer it may surprise many to learn that some of the best customers of East Yorkshire’s Wold Top Brewery are . . . Italians!
Every year almost a fifth of the Wold Newton-based company’s production is exported around the world, including customers in the Falklands.
But by far and away the biggest market is Italy, where a family-owned company in Treviso, which distributes wine, soft drinks and beers to bars, has struck up a unique partnership.
“We met as a result of a business twinning event in Leeds and I think they liked the fact that, like them, we are very much a sustainable family business,” said Wold Top director Gill Mellor.
Since 2011, Wold Top has grown exports by 90 per cent and this year has picked up a brace of awards for its efforts, including joint winner for export achievement at the Scarborough News Business Awards in November.
Closer to home, Wold Top continues to plough a successful furrow with lovers of its quality, traditional, English beer and its success shows no sign of abating.
Alongside big sellers such as Wold Top Bitter and Wold Gold, both of which are available in bottles and casks, the brewery introduces limited edition brews, such as Marmalade Porter, each month.
One, Hello Vello, was introduced to coincide with the Yorkshire Grand Depart of the Tour de France in 2014 and was repeated in April this year and features as one of 12 “specials” again in 2016.
Founded in 2003 by Tom and Gill Mellor, Tom is the third generation of his family to have farmed the land high up on the East Yorkshire Wolds at Hunmanby Grange.
In the early years of the millennium, with revenues from traditional crops falling, he and Gill were looking for new ways to boost their income and Wold Top Brewery was the result.
“We had a source of pure water and grew high-quality barley, so we elected to jump on the craft brewing bandwagon and brew beer as a means of maintaining our lifestyle and taking advantage of our education, the Mellor land, and the natural assets around us,” she said.
In 2003, Tom and Gill converted a barn into a microbrewery and production was 300 gallons per week - at that time it had no paid staff. By last year, production was up to 4,300 gallons per week and in October Wold Top officially opened its new brew house that will, eventually, triple production.
Gill believes the REYTAs are particularly important, both to Wold Top and Hull and East Yorkshire as region.”They are a wonderful way of publicising what’s happening locally and showcasing all that’s good about East Yorkshire. I would urge all business, both large and small, to participate.”
Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, officially opened Wold Top’s new brew plant which, as well as increasing its own capacity will enable them to offer contract brewing to other breweries.
Moving from traditional farming to becoming a major player in the craft brewing industry required not only significant changes for a farming family but was also a huge risk. But not only have Tom and Gill maintained the financial viability of the family farm, they are pioneers in responsible farming techniques and enthusiastic supporters of the local low-transport food movement.
Wind turbines on the farm generate all the electrical power necessary for the brewery, with power to spare that is sold back to the grid for others. And although Wold Top Brewery has no tasting room and does not sell beer directly to consumers, the Mellor farm has become a popular venue for charity events.
From time to time the farm and the brewery are open to visitors for a fee which goes entirely to a local charity. Based on the success of an annual folk festival—Moonbeams at Wold Top—the Mellors have formed an events company which will let the farm become a destination for weddings and other celebrations.
Always looking to innovate, just this month Wold Top has formed its Big Sky Beer Club which entitles members to exclusive tours and evenings at the brewery plus discounts on beer and a tankard to enjoy their favourite tipple.
Visit www.woldtopbrewery.co.uk for more details.
• The Remarkable East Yorkshire Tourism Awards (the REYTAs) are now in their seventh year.
Organised by Visit Hull and East Yorkshire (VHEY), they honour the very best, from major visitor attractions and events to hotels and accommodation providers, restaurants, pubs, cafes, food and drink retailers and producers.
The Bridlington Free Press is sponsoring the category for the best caravan park or holiday village.
A total of 14 awards will be presented at a glittering ceremony scheduled for The Spa, Bridlington, on Thursday March 17.
Entry is free and can be done online at www.visithullandeastyorkshire.com/reyta.
Closing date for entries is January 22.