'Write' up there...

November 4, 2017

Its always good to get an outsiders point of view and let them delve into the history books and current standing of your company and products. We are about to feature in a "Brewers Guide". Here's what they said...

THE GREAT NORTH EASTERN BREWING CO If there was ever a beer that epitomises the North East’s formidable industrial heritage, it’s Rivet Catcher. It’s named after the occupation where shipyard workers would sling red-hot rivets high into scaffolding to be caught in metal buckets then battered into holes in steel plates. The movements may have been mesmeric, almost graceful, but it was an exhausting and dangerous way to earn a living.Rivet Catcher is brewed by the Great North Eastern Brewing Company (GNEBC) in Dunston, Gateshead, and was formerly a Jarrow Brewery stalwart until that company’s demise in 2015. Great North Eastern Brewing Co brews out of an impressive facility – close to where Federation Brewery once reigned supreme then followed by Scottish & Newcastle between 2005 and 2010.Today, however, it’s Rivet Catcher (4.0% abv), Red Ellen (4.4% abv) Jobling’s Swinging Gibbet (4.1% abv), Westoe IPA (4.6% abv) and Clasper’s Citra Blonde (3.8% abv) that emerge from the 20-barrel brewhouse. Rivet Catcher was one of the North East’s most popular and award-friendly beers and since its revival has been “flying out” of the region’s pubs with some casks reportedly lasting little more than two hours.Other beers in an ever-developing portfolio that celebrates the history of the North East working class include Minnikin’s Irish Stout (4.6% abv), Wor Bob (4.8% abv), and Finn’s Amber Light (3.6% abv).William Jobling (Jobling’s Swinging Gibbet) was a striking miner executed in 1832 for assaulting a colliery owner ­and his corpse displayed in a cage. Passing sentence at Durham Assizes, Judge Parke expressed that he had done so partly to deter working men from participating in trade unions. Understandably, Jobling is widely considered a North East martyr.Red Ellen celebrates working class heroine Ellen Wilkinson, firebrand Labour MP and minister of education who came to national prominence playing a pivotal role in the 1936 Jarrow Crusade, the march from Tyneside to London that petitioned for the right to work.Clasper’s Citra Blonde is brewed in honour of Harry Clasper, world champion rower and 19th Century folk hero who built rowing boats to revolutionary designs on the River Tyne at Dunston.The ten-barrel Great North Eastern Brewing Co brewery is overseen by head brewer John Stubbs. He spent nearly 20 years looking after Vaux Brewery’s managed houses and for two years helped run the award-winning Isis pub in Sunderland with partner Carol Graham which was awarded Camra pub of the year for two years in a row, so it’s safe to assume he knows a thing or two about great beer.These days, breweries need watertight certification if they want to sell their beer to national customers. It’s simply a marker that proves procedures for health and safety and food production are in place, so Great North Eastern Brewing Co is on course for the necessary Safe And Local Supplier Approval (SALSA) accreditation, the food safety certification scheme for the UK’s small producers, and a HACCP (Hazard Awareness Critical Control Point) inspection. A SIBA (the Society of Independent Brewers) audit has also found everything to be of high specification.The Great North Eastern Brewing Co project has been largely self-financed with input from private investors to the tune of £300,00-plus. Phase II is already being worked on with an upgrade to a 30-barrel plant in adjacent buildings with bottling, kegging and canning facilities signed off. A new five-barrel brewery will be used for experimental styles.From the beginning, managing director Paul Minnikin enlisted the likes of Borders-based Scotia Welding & Fabricating building and fitting boilers, fermentation vessels and conditioning tanks into the plastic-clad brewhouse alongside a collection of kit and casks sourced from the wider industry. It is a particularly impressive sight.Scotia Welding “stretched” veteran Grundy tanks to accommodate double their original capacity of five to ten barrels (16 hectolitres). Grundy tanks – dumpy, domed vessels – were used in pub and club cellars in the 1950s and 1960s to hold large volumes of beer, delivered by tanker, then pumped onto the bar counter. They became redundant with the popularity of nine and 18-gallon aluminium casks. Most of them were shipped to the US to be eagerly snapped up by home-brewers. Those same home-brewers were the leaders of the craft beer movement that has been exported back to the UK and these days, Grundy tanks are much sought-after.An events and live music venue has been created in a unit adjacent to the brewhouse by Mark Forrest and transformed into a seven-days-a-week taproom, snug and shop. The taproom is the ideal way to gauge what the public likes to drink and to trial new beers before they go into full production. It’s how Clasper’s Citra Blonde was developed into a core product while more experimental brews Dripping Tap and Golden Tap were also assessed.Visitors could be forgiven for thinking they’re relaxing in the resident’s lounge of a country hotel, surrounded as they are by soft furnishings, upholstered settees, tapestry-backed chairs, frilled lampshades, gilt picture frames and SkyHD supported by “geordie tapas”. It’s carpeted throughout and candle-lit with a functioning fireplace and perfect for enjoying the brewery’s output.True to working-class traditions, Great North Eastern believes in nurturing latent talent and creativity, particularly from those who perhaps haven’t had the best of starts in life. An apprentice brewer is learning the craft well, while another trainee has also responded to having a new direction.Starting up a brewery of Great North Eastern Brewing Co’s size and undoubted potential can’t have been easy, but definitely much more fun than battering red-hot rivets into holes. The Great North Eastern Brewing Co LtdUnit E Contract House, Wellington Road, West Dunston, Gateshead NE11 9HSTel: 0191 447 4462www.gnebco.comFacebook: /GNEBCO Twitter: @GNEBCO FACT FILEEstablished: September 2015Owner: Paul MinnikinBrewer: John StubbsTop three beers: Rivet Catcher (xx% abv), Westoe IPA (xx% abv), Clasper’s Citra Blonde (xx% abv)The Brewery Tap and shop attached to the brewery are open seven days a week (12noon-11pm), open to the public and can be booked for private parties. The Tap is licensed to sell all alcohol alongside the freshly brewed beer.Suppliers to hundreds of pubs in the North of England with cask, craft keg and bottled beers.Granted a SIBA food safety and food quality certification and SALSA Beer-plus from December 2017. QUOTE“Since its revival Rivet Catcher has been ‘flying out’ of pubs with some casks reportedly lasting little more than two hours” 




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0191 4474462

Contract House, Wellington Road, Dunston, Gateshead, UK, NE11 9HS

©2019 by Great North Eastern Brewing Company Ltd