Salford is rapidly becoming a cornerstone of craft beer culture with fans eager to return to brewery tap rooms when lockdown restrictions ease.
Salford Quays is home to a trio of local breweries: Seven Brothers, Marble Brewery and Pomona Island.
They are all situated within a mile of each other and feature tap rooms where customers can try a selection of their beers.
Although consumption outdoors is already allowed, all will open fully with indoor service from May 17.
The SIBA British Craft Beer Report 2020 showed the number of tap rooms has increased with nearly a third of breweries serving beer on-site.
There are now 1,897 active microbreweries in the UK, 82 per cent of which have experienced a drop in beer sales in the past year due to Covid-19.
Seven Brothers was started in 2014 by the McAvoy boys, seven brothers from Salford.
Influenced by their father’s home brewing, the seven brothers decided to work together, making what they all loved, craft ale.
Nathan McAvoy said: “We always wanted to go into business together, but it was always very important to keep it in Salford, coming from Salford ourselves.
“We all come from different backgrounds, so we thought if we pulled our resources and experiences together then whatever business we tried, we’d make a go out of it and be successful.”
They set up a brewery on Daniel Adamson Road, offering tours and a newly renovated tap room which hosts events and is available to book for a party.
“There’s so much appetite for going out and socialising at the moment.
“Working round the Covid guidelines from the government has been difficult but once you get used to it, it becomes par for the course.”
The brothers are neighbours to their four sisters who produce gin under Four Sis4ers Distillery, also offering tours and tasting and have more recently started selling rum and sanitiser.
“It’s always been really supportive and collaborative between the two businesses. I love what they do and I’m happy they’re doing well.”
The brewery also owns two bars where you can enjoy their beer and food – one in Ancoats and one in Middlewood Locks.
“You don’t get anywhere without taking any chances so that’s what we’ve done and we’re seven years in now.
“It’s going really well; we’re taking on new deals all the time; we just took on an Asda deal and opening new bars in Liverpool and Leeds.
“It’s always onwards and upwards, the more we build on that success, the more we can get our name out there and hopefully become a household name.”
The brewery has another bar opening in Media City next week,
Seven Brothers sells a lot of popular Salford craft beer, including Easy IPA, Honeycomb Pale Ale and Watermelon Wheat Beer.
“Our plan for the future is to keep expanding, improving our recipes and the quality of our beers.”
Marble has been brewing since 1997. Starting in the back room of The Marble Arch Inn in Ancoats, it moved to Salford Quays in 2019 to increase workspace.
Paul Plowman said: “The story goes that the director had a choice between a karaoke machine or a brewery to help the pub be more successful, and that’s how it started.”
The Kansas Avenue tap room looks over the brewery giving an insight into how the beer is made while enjoying the fresh ale.
He said: “The site worked for us and was affordable basically, the fact that there’s two tram stops, and Media City nearby is a bonus.
“It’s quite hard to find an appropriate unit for a brewery of our size.”
Marble tap room has nine keg and three cask lines, offering a wide range, from traditional cask ales such as Pint and Marble Stout, to a Hop Forward range and collaborations with other brewers.
Marble is a participant in the #EveryoneWelcomeInitiative, maintaining a welcoming place for all.
“We’re an inclusive brewery and have zero tolerance to sexism, racism and any issues like that. If we do hear it or it gets reported, we will take action,” he said.
The brewery still sells a range of beers at the pub, The Marble Arch Inn, and its ales are sold in pubs around the country.
The most popular beers on tap are Pint, Lagonda and Earl Grey IPA.
Pomona Island is the newest brewery of the three, starting in 2017. Pomona has taken the craft brewing scene by storm, already receiving awards from Camra beer festival.
“We do lots of different beers, most of them are special one-offs but we have two core beers, Factotum and Phaedra.
“We’ve had a lot of bars open in the past couple of weeks that are buying from us and Factotum is the most popular.”
Unfortunately, the tap room at the brewery in Daniel Adamson Road is closed now.
But the beers are available on Freight Island near Piccadilly station, an urban landscape constructed from an old industrial freight depot, which offers a selection of bars and eateries along with live music and arts.
“Freight Island is quite a busy venue and it’s booked up a lot.
“They lease to different vendors so there’s a cocktail bar, taco place, pizza place, burger place and a place where you can order a steak.”
Hear more from the craft beer makers in the interviews below: