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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Publicans shocked at collapse of Cumbrian brewery

Shocked publicans say they have been left “gutted” by the demise of a popular brewery.

Emma Goodman photo
Emma Goodman

Their feelings came as the boss of Brampton’s Geltsdale Brewery was “too devastated” to discuss its closure. The firm, based at the Townfoot Industrial Estate, announced earlier this week via Twitter that it had gone into administration.

It was founded in 2006 by Fiona Deal, who had been working as an archaeologist at Tullie House Museum in Carlisle and wanted to make a career change.

The company’s beers, included Cold Fell and Brampton Bitter.

At first it was based in the one-time premises of the Old Brampton Brewery, which had closed in 1915. Last year it moved to the industrial estate.

Newcastle-based Tait Walker have been appointed as the firm’s administrators.

Several landlords told the News & Star how upset they were by the news.

Mark Harper, who runs The Stag at Crosby-on-Eden, outside Carlisle, said: “I am absolutely gutted, Cold Fell was by far our biggest seller. We sold more of that than we did of other real ales.

“At a time when a lot of country pubs are finding it tough, and with the way things are in the pub trade, I just can’t see how a small microbrewery would be able to survive.”

Mr Harper added that he has no Geltsdale products left for sale.

Graham Watt is landlord at The Wheatsheaf Inn in Wetheral, which used to serve the firm’s beers.

He said: “It is always sad when any small local business closes. It was good quality beer, we never had any complaints about it.”

Nigel Tarn, who runs the Moo Bar in Penrith – which sold Geltsdale – and is currently setting up an operation in Carlisle, was full of praise for the brewery and Mrs Deal.

He said: “I am massively disappointed, they made some wonderful beers.”

Mr Tarn added that some new breweries can take a while to establish themselves with drinkers but that had not been the case with Geltsdale and its products.

“I hope somebody can come in and rescue the business but they have to remember it’s not just the brewery but the brewer as well and Fiona Deal is a great brewer, I hope she can find a way back into brewing. I have spent 20 years in this industry and she is one of the best people I have come across.”

Emma Goodman, one of the owners of the Off the Wall cafe in Brampton, which sold Geltsdale, was also saddened.

She said: “It is a terrible loss for the town, especially for tourists. It was a really popular drink for them because when they came to the town they wanted to drink something from the local area.”

“We had a lot of Brazilians in at the weekend and they all wanted to drink it,” she added.

The News & Star attempted to approached Mrs Deal at the brewery but were told she was “too devastated” to discuss the news.

Tait Walker were unavailable for comment.

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