EU-backed loan to help create jobs at Yorkshire-based Wold Top Brewery

Alex and Kate Balchin and Tom Mellor of Wold Top Brewery at Hunmanby with Ian Atkinson of Mercia, which has extended a �200,000 to the brewery to enable it to expand. December 2019:  Shaun Flannery/shaunflanneryphotography.com
Alex and Kate Balchin and Tom Mellor of Wold Top Brewery at Hunmanby with Ian Atkinson of Mercia, which has extended a �200,000 to the brewery to enable it to expand. December 2019: Shaun Flannery/shaunflanneryphotography.com
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A North Yorkshire microbrewery is set for expansion this year following a £200,000 loan accessed through the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF).

Wold Top Brewery, near Hunmanby, plans to expand its range of real ales and develop new distribution channels with the money from NPIF - Mercia Debt Finance, which is managed by Mercia and part of the NPIF.

The brewery was founded in 2003 by husband and wife, Tom and Gill Mellor, in a converted barn on their family farm in the Yorkshire Wolds as a way of diversifying when traditional income streams dwindled. It produces ales based on traditional recipes using home-grown barley and water from the farm’s own borehole.

Its award-winning range, which includes Wold Top Bitter and the gluten-free beer Against the Grain, can be found in bars and independent shops across the North and in supermarkets nationwide. Around 20 per cent of its products go to export markets.

The brewery also makes the ‘wash’ used to create the county’s first whisky which is produced by Tom and Gill’s latest venture, the Spirit of Yorkshire distillery in nearby Humanby.

Wold Top Brewery now employs around 15 people, including the couple’s daughter and son-in-law Kate and Alex Balchin. The funding will allow it to take on two new staff including a full-time sales manager.

Tom Mellor said: “Our aim is to become a sustainable business in every sense of the word – from using locally-grown ingredients and minimising our impact on the environment to the way we run the business. This funding will provide us with the working capital we need to pursue our plans and continue to grow and develop the business.”

Ian Atkinson, investment manager with Mercia, said: “Tom and Gill are not only pioneering a more sustainable approach to brewing but also creating high-quality products that build on Yorkshire’s reputation for fine food and drink. It is great to be able to support them with their growth plans.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The project is delivered by the Government-owned British Business Bank.

Grant Peggie, director at the British Business Bank, said: “Since its launch in 2017, NPIF’s impact on businesses has been wide-ranging, providing funding to launch new products, employ new staff, enter new markets and acquire new facilities.

“We are pleased that NPIF is continuing to unlock the North’s growth potential by supporting small growing businesses with vital investment.”