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Brewers given go-ahead for former Grimsby church conversion

PLANNERS have backed the return of commercial-scale brewing to Grimsby.

Brewers given go-ahead for former Grimsby church conversion

Axholme Brewing Co, the company behind Cleethorpes Pale Ale and a recently launched Mariners tipple, has been given the go-ahead to transform the former St Barnabas Church in King Edward Street.

It will now allow the passionate team to approach funders, while also seeking approval from HMRC, which is anticipated to be a formality.

Will Douglas, director, said: “It is a big piece of the jigsaw, a key part. We hope to be brewing in six months.” 

As reported when the application was submitted in October, the five-year-old company has now outgrown its rural northern Lincolnshire base, having been reinvigorated by three Grimsby businessmen who jumped on board, lured by the resort creation.

And with passion for the town in equal measure, they were keen to tap into wider regeneration proposals, boosted this past week with Heritage Action Zone status. 

The team wants to quadruple current output, having added more than 100 trade customers since Mr Douglas, Charles Lumley and Shahram Shadan joined Mike and Jules Richards in Crowle. Mr Lumley was an early customer with his Cleethorpes craft beer shop Message in a Bottle, and rallied round when he heard it could be scaled down as the couple struggled to take it to the next level.

Mr Douglas bought the building, which had been used by a storage company for decades, having been deconsecrated after the last service back in 1954. Both Mr Douglas and Mr Lumley, are cousins, and grandsons of former town clerk Frederick Ward.

Currently turning out 4,320 pints a week, firm orders from independent pubs as well as a recent win with The Lincolnshire Co-operative, has led to the application. The plan is to convert the ground floor into a brewery, with newer brewing technology to have a capacity of at least 19,400 pints, while making it a new headquarters, employing a handful of staff. 

The building offers huge potential with a first floor added previously, still enjoying the open arched roof with exposed beams and other original features – but the immediate focus is brewing capacity.

April will mark 50 years since Hewitts last brewed in Grimsby. Mr Douglas said he hopes to have the investment plan in place by the end of January. 

The Seven Lakes base, brought forward by the original husband and wife duo Mike and Jules Richards, will be retained for small brewing runs and new product development. 

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