It was quite fitting that a beer-tasting session at the launch of Melton’s new brewery today (Tuesday) was interupted by a huge Herefordshire bull being led inside for a look around the bar area.
That’s because Round Corner Brewing is located smack bang in the middle of the town’s livestock market and the owners pledge to work closely with the many farmers and food producer who use it every week.
Co-founder and CEO, Combie Cryan, raised £1million to get the venture off the ground with state-of-the-art brewing equipment housed in a new building on the site of a former sheep shed.
The first draught beers were poured for invited guests at today’s lauch in the impressive new taproom, which will be open every Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
And Combie told the Melton Times he is excited about the prospects for a business which is the culmination of a 15-year vision he had with lifelong friend, Colin Paige, head brewer and someone he praises as ‘legend in the industry’.
“We scoured the world for the best brewing equipment and what we’ve got gives us the ability to a brew a range of beers which 95 per cent of breweries don’t have,” said Combie.
“At the moment we are looking to produce a couple of hundred thousand litres in year one but we have the capacity here to scale that up to about 1.7million litres.
“The dream, or rather the intent, for us, is to develop an iconic brand and whatever happens our home will always be in Melton Mowbray.”
The launch of the brewery represents the second phase in the redevelopment of the market, with the aim to create a hub to showcase the borough’s reputation as the rural capital of food and drink.
The first phase in the market’s makeover saw £5.5million invested in the building of a modern cattle shed and auction ring to replace the delapidated buildings which had stood for decades.
Combie believes his business will benefit from being at the historic market but the relationship will be very much symbiotic.
“We see the market, and I know the council does as well, as being an incubator of small businesses,” he said.
“But when you also have a brewery on site that tends to result in other small businesses mushrooming around it and that is what I think will happen here.”
The names of the first brews on tap all have names with local connections - Steeplechase (a 19th century midnight horse race which took place in the area), which is a 4.4 per cent pale ale; Top Side (meat from a market animal), a 4.6 per cent golden ale; and Frisby lager (named after the village), at 4.2 per cent.
In the pipeline, so to speak, and coming soon, are Gunmetal, a 4.8 per cent black lager, and Hopping Spree, a strong 6.6 per cent West Coast IPA.
The company plans to sell a lot of its beer to pubs but eventually it intends to supply it also to independent outlets in cans and bottles.
Refills, in new or resuable containers, are already available and plenty of customers have started ordering the brews to stock up for Christmas.
Head brewer Colin added: “We are pretty excited about this brewery.
“We will be working with local farmers to get our ingredients and it’s great to be part of this great agricultural community.
“I am looking forward to brewing our first Gunmetal tomorrow, a black lager which I think is going to be a cracker.”
The brewery will be holding a grand opening party, with live music and local food provided, as well as a selection of the new beers.
It will be on Saturday December 22, from 2pm until late, and all are invited.
Market owners Melton Council and site operators Gilstream Markets, are keen to see other food and drink businesses set up there to showcase what the borough is renowned for.
Council chief executive, Edd de Coverly, said: “Having the brewery at the market is great for the town because it complements the capital of food narrative we have in the borough.
“The second phase of development at the market will be a food and drink hub and the brewery is hopefully the start of that.”