Funeral-king-turned-brewer Frank celebras 20 birthdays at once!

By: JimOldfield

December 15th, 2011

When one of Britain’s rarest breweries celebrates its first birthday next month, 19 fellow new-born brewers will be bringing along their barrels too!

Such is the real ale boom, that nearly a score of new brewers have set up in and around the Dearne area of South Yorkshire, in the past 12 months.

And funeral director turned brewmaster, Frank Hoyland, has organised a four-day festival at his Imperial Club and Brewery in Mexborough, to showcase all their ales. The event runs from December 1-4.

When Frank took over the club last December, he established it as only the second club/brewery in the country… the other (Mexborough’s Concertina Band Club Brewery) being situated just half a mile up the road, in the same town!

The brewery launched in December last year, and it has already picked up a raft of festival awards for its core beers – along with a growing following among real-ale drinkers across the region. Now its ambitious owners are planning a festive showcase for not only their ales – but also the cream of the region’s other up-and-coming micro-breweries.

Frank said he planned to invite 19 other new northern companies to bring one beer each to the festival – which he expects to have a strong turn-out.

He told Hand Pumped: “We’ve entered several South Yorkshire festivals this year, selling quickly at all of them, and winning two prizes at Sheffield CAMRA’s Steel City Beer Festival in September. “Real ale seems to be the only growth industry round here at the moment and it’s great that so many breweries are starting up.

“Our reputation seems to be spreading through word-of-mouth, especially after our win at Sheffield, and we are seeing a lot of new faces coming though our door.

“So we thought a beer festival would be a great way of promoting ourselves and our fellow local breweries to our growing number of drinkers.” The festival will also feature live music and food