Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Mary Jane creator appointed Wharfedale Brewery's technical director

Stewart Ross
Press release:
Wharfedale Brewery has announced the appointment of award-winning brewer Stewart Ross as its technical director.
Stewart, who was a co-founder of Ilkley Brewery and created its flagship beer Mary Jane, had been acting as a consultant to Wharfedale Brewery.
The brewery is based in the grounds of The Flying Duck pub in Ilkley where Stewart has also been acting as general manager for the past 12 months. The pub on Church Street opened in mid November following a 30-week, £200,000 restoration project.
Stewart, 52, is credited with helping bringing brewing back to the area after a near 100-year absence when he re-established Ilkley Brewery in 2009 with co-founder Chris Ives. 
Stewart left the company towards the end of 2012 and is now firmly focusing on the future. 
He said: "I take tremendous pride and satisfaction from the knowledge that I was able to create a range of beers that people appeared to enjoy but I don’t wish to dwell on the past. Times change and people move on and I am delighted to have been given such an exciting opportunity at Wharfedale Brewery and the Flying Duck. 
"Despite the many challenges faced by both the pub and brewing sectors, I’m really looking forward to bringing my experience and enthusiasm to this vibrant and stimulating market."
Assisted by fellow brewer Michael Allan, Stewart has already produced three staple beers under the new Wharfedale name. Wharfedale Blonde is a refreshing zesty session ale; Wharfedale Best is a traditional Yorkshire Bitter; while Wharfedale Black is described as a satisfying dark mild.
Along with the sales of a further six rotating guest ales from microbreweries across the UK, an extensive array of lagers, ciders, bottled beers, wines and spirits, Wharfedale’s first Brewpub has reported brisk trade during an encouraging first quarter in operation.
Nevertheless, Wharfedale marketing director, Jonathan Shepherd said there was no room for complacency. He added: “Whilst we are not getting carried away, we are delighted with the support and feedback we have received from our customers so far. The project is still somewhat of a work in progress and plans are in place to provide a few finishing touches to the building whilst also introducing a lunchtime menu and series of events that we think will be of interest to the public.
"We have been hugely encouraged by the mix of customers visiting the pub and the wide range of drinks people are consuming, with wine sales in particular surpassing all expectations."
Speaking about appointment, Jonathan said: “We feel we have pulled off a major coup in appointing Stewart as a full board member and his new beers are already proving a big hit in the town." 
The pub reported selling eight firkins (576 pints) of the Blonde in one day alone shortly before Christmas. 
 It will be showcased on a special Wharfedale Brewery bar along with the Best Bitter, Black and a special Festival Ale at Ilkley Beer Festival this weekend (February 7-8, check ticket availability before travelling at http://www.ilkleybeerfestival.org.uk/ as Friday evening is sold out and Saturday's sessions tickets are reported as being 'low').
The beer festival, which raises over £40,000 for local charities, was the brain child of Stewart Ross whilst chairman of Ilkley Round Table, prior to its inception in 2008.
Stewart will be chatting about the beer festival, Wharfedale Brewery and all things beer during a special meet the brewer night next Wednesday (February 12 from 8pm) at the Flying Duck where tickets are now on sale priced £10 (including beer and food).

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