25 years of Rudgate
Rudgate Brewery was set up in 1992 by 2 ex Bass Brewers in an old armoury building on the disused WW2 airfield on Marston Moor in Tockwith. As the brewery was on the Viking road of `Rudgate’ it seemed natural to use this name and theme the brewery on Vikings. Viking Bitter was released in September 1992 shortly followed by Battleaxe. These were the only 2 beers produced until Ruby Mild was created around 1995. The brewery mainly sold beer locally and regionally with an output of 10-12 brewers barrels per week, (2800-3500 pints). As well as the 2 owners a couple of part time people were employed to deliver and help brew. Trade proved a struggle mainly down to the amount of duties that the government demanded.
Over the years the brewery started to introduce seasonal beers which eventually developed into a new special brew each month. Some of these beers went on to become permanent additions, one namely Jorvik Blonde. Several local and a couple of national awards were won helping build the reputation of the brand.
At the turn of the millennium progressive beer duty was introduced. This was a huge relief to small brewers. It allowed the breweries to invest in equipment and also offer some better discounts to attract the larger customers. An element of this was used albeit the current owners had a limit on what they wanted to achieve, it did however make life much easier.
Craig Lee the current owner worked for the brewery on a part time basis and studied under the 2 original owners then in 2005 one of the founding owners sold out as it was time to retire and in 2008 the second partner did the same which is when Craig Lee took over the helm.
Under it's new ownership the business had a whole new strategy. The company was re branded, new products developed, Three monthly specials replaced the current one. To further help In 2009 Ruby Mild won Supreme Champion Beer of Britain which hugely bolstered the companies profile and sales. In 2011 a new brewery facility was built , volumes doubled between 2002 and 2008 then grew further under the new leadership up to our current volumes of around 120 brewers barrels (35,000 pints) per week. Production standards were adopted and we were one of the first small breweries in the UK to achieve SALSA accreditation.
We now still concentrate very much on local distribution around our heartland but also reach out to national customers from free trade to large pub companies, to wholesalers and supermarkets alike. We hugely appreciate each and every customer and strive to offer them an excellent product and supreme customer service experience.
Fantastic, interesting, exciting yet turbulent are all words to describe the first 25 years. Let’s see what the next 25 years bring…..