Brewing industry

Brewery that started in a barn as a journalist's dream

Martin Lewes


Hawkshead Brewery was founded in 2002 by Alex Brodie, who had spent most of his life reporting on the conflicts of the Middle East as Jerusalem correspondent for the BBC World Service.

Alex Brodie
Hawkshead Brewery

He once told me he decided he wanted to move out of journalism, but knew nothing about anything else apart from beer, so a brewery seemed the obvious move.

The first pints were matured in a barn behind his house in the village of Hawkshead but the business swiftly outgrew that, moving to the Staveley Mill Yard business park near Kendal four years later, where it added a large bar.

As that in turn became a venue offering entertainment and hosting festivals, a second brewery was developed in Flookburgh, and the business as a whole was said to turn over more than £2m a year.

In 2017, Alex retired, selling the business to the Merseyside firm, Halewood Wines and Spirits.

News reports earlier this year showed Halewood closing the Midland brewery, Sadlers, and moving production of its beers to Hawkshead, where the company insists it intends to continue production.