A Salford man has set up his own brewery during the pandemic, producing a range of craft beer that is now on sale across the country.
Dan Wright set up Hideaway Brewing Company, based in Worsley, at the start of the Covid-19 lockdown last year, after unfortunately being made redundant from his job.
Dan said: “I’d been a brewer for a while – mainly just doing it for myself to be fair, just like a bit of a hobby and a bit of a passion project.
“[Redundancy] sort of gave me a bit of an impetus to just follow something that I’d actually wanted to do for a while.”
Around the same time as he decided to set up the business, Dan and his wife Natalie welcomed their son, and as Dan says on his website, “two great things were born that month”.
Dan began setting the brewery up in July, completing all of the necessary steps before officially starting trading on December 10th 2020.
The family business now brew lager, stout, and ale on site in Worsley.
Starting off small, they began by making batches of around 25L at a time, the equivalent of 50 x 440ml cans.
As Dan explained: “By maybe about February/March time, we realised we just couldn’t keep up with demand.”
Therefore, with some help from another brewery, they began brewing elsewhere in much bigger batches.
Now, one year into the venture, they have a range of unique products and merchandise, including a new special edition Christmas ale, which Dan says “pretty much sold out”.
He continued: “We’ve been trying to establish ourselves as a brewery that doesn’t just do one type of thing. What we want to do is explore different styles of beer for everyone to enjoy really.”
The company have brought their products to many local markets, including those at Quayside MediaCityUK, Didsbury and Chorlton.
Dan, alongside another local business owner, has also set up a new business, Worsley Events, which brought a market to Worsley in December.
Speaking of the success of the market, Dan said: “It is more about helping your community to overcome adversity.
“We’ve all had it really rough – and I think we just needed it, and it was nice of people to come down and support local businesses, including us.”
Next year, they are hoping to work with the council to make the markets quarterly.
The local community is something that is of real importance to Dan, with “strength in community” being one of the three pillars of the business.
Due to its size, customers cannot currently visit the Worsley-based brewery, but this is something that Dan is aiming to change in the new year.
He said: “For the brewery especially, we want to try and find a new location so we can grow.
“We don’t want something that’s really niche or that’s not nice for your family to come to. We want it to be inclusive so that people can come and meet, and they can have a nice drink – something that they are going to enjoy – and some exciting food.”
As well as aiming to create a place where the community can come together to have a good time, the company are keen on concentrating on things that are important to the Salford community and establishing what, as they grow, they can do to help local people.
Another pillar of the business, Dan explains, is the importance of sustainability.
He said: “We are constantly looking at how we can improve things in our supply chain, how we can improve things in the way we operate.
“When you are quite small, the impact is minimal. So there isn’t a lot that you can do in terms of waste, as an example, because it just isn’t cost effective.”
But, when they start growing, Dan is sure his business can do a lot more in terms of how to reduce certain things going to landfill, recycling, and reducing the carbon footprint of waste.
He said: “These are all plans that we can put in place, but we just need to find the right site.
“These are all pipe dreams at the moment – we’re just trying to take it step by step.”
With the constant threat of coronavirus lockdown and new restrictions, Dan says at the moment it is proving a little difficult to make those dreams a reality.
He said: “It’s hard, but we will get there.”
That being said, the small business has already experienced much success, despite operating in a turbulent year, and only having just celebrated its first anniversary.
Hideaway Brewing Company already have around 30-35 stockists across the UK, with Bents Garden and Home becoming the latest to stock their products.
Having managed bars in his early career, as well as being surrounded by a family who work mainly in hospitality, Dan is no stranger to the industry.
He hopes his business can help to educate people about the craft of beer, proving that there is something for everyone.
“In terms of the world of wine, everybody knows what that looks like and the types of wine and grape varieties, etc, that are available.
“It’s similar with beer, its not just a 50p can that you get from Tesco.”
Dan added: “There’s a lot of love and attention that goes into it.”
“We’ve got very honest intentions when it comes to the way we want to operate our business.
“There’s a lot of help that you can get from your colleagues in the brewing industry, and other breweries are more than willing to help and give you tips and advice which has been fantastic.”
In terms of the development process, after looking into trends and what is on the market, the taste-testing starts at home.
Dan says that the first step to a new flavour is making sure that he and those closest to him enjoy the product.
“You’ve got to make sure you’re producing things you’re passionate about.”
He added: “My wife is the ‘Chief Beer Tester’, as we say!”
Dan will then speak to friends and trade customers to gather opinions before a new beer hits the shelves, paying attention to how they are received by customers, being honest and critiquing the product.
“The beauty of craft beer is the next time we brew it we can make a tweak.”
According to Dan, the next step for his business is for the brewery to be large enough to be able to make draught beer.
“So when you go to your local bar, or your local pub or your local taphouse, you can enjoy one of our beers on draught.
“The next year is sort of really targeted on growth, and seeing how we can increase our production,” he added.
“By year three, we really want to be in a good position within the UK as a well-known brewery, so that’s our ideal and we’ll see where we get to!
“We’re passionate about what we do, and we’re hoping that that comes through in the product.”
You can learn more about Hideaway Brewing Company here.