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Start-up craft brewery secures £75,000 for Leeds brewpub and online shop

Amity Brew Co is signing a 10 year lease at Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley, following an injection of £50,000 from BEF and raising £25,000 from family.

A new craft brewery has secured £75,000 of funding to launch an online shop and brewpub in an iconic landmark mill in Leeds.

Amity Brew Co is signing a 10 year lease at Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley, following an injection of £50,000 from the Business Enterprise Fund (BEF) and raising £25,000 from family.

The 2,500 sq ft brewery and bar, due to open in autumn 2020, will be situated at Sunny Bank Mills’ Festoon Rooms with a paved outdoor beer garden overlooking the newly developed £2million Weavers Yard, a 5,000 sq ft outdoor space with 96 car parking spaces. 

Gaining experience at BrewDog, North Brewing Co and Beer Hawk, Co-founder and Director of Amity Brew Co, Russ Clarke dreamt of using the USA brewery model to open his own brewpub.

“We are a group of friends who met on the craft beer scene having worked in the UK’s best breweries, so we know our stuff,” says Russ.

“We are inspired by the US model of a brewpub, making limited batch beer on-site and getting it into the hands of the community fresh and fast.”

John Gaunt, joint managing director of mill owners Edwin Woodhouse and Co Ltd, said: “We are really excited to welcome Amity Brew Co to Sunny Bank Mills. Just as the mill was home to manufacturing some of the best cloth in the world, we can’t wait to see Amity Brew Co brewing and selling high quality craft beers at Sunny Bank Mills. Amity Brew Co will be a superb addition to the Mill community, complementing Grumpy's and The Mill Kitchen and making it an even more attractive place to visit and work.”

“Sunny Bank, one of the most famous family-owned mills in Yorkshire, has been transformed into a 21st century business centre. The mill has been extensively renovated to provide quality space within an environment steeped in heritage for small and medium-sized businesses in West Yorkshire. Altogether 70 companies are now on site, creating 350 new and sustainable jobs.”

Due to COVID-19, Russ moved the launch forward so that he can start to build a community locally and within the craft beer scene before physically opening doors. 

Business Enterprise Fund's Start Up Loans Manager, Julie Micklethwaite, said: “We are proud to have a legacy of supporting Yorkshire breweries over the years including Leeds Brewery and Northern Monk. The Amity Brew Co plan of maximising ecommerce to gain loyalty and brand recognition is a great model in the post-Covid world. We’re delighted to support new businesses get off the ground in this challenging economy.”

Using cuckoo brewing - a practice where brewery’s hire out their kit - Head Brewer Greig Swanson, formerly of Top 100 breweries Buxton Brewery and BrewDog, has created a core range of beers including a “helles” lager, an extra special bitter and an American pale ale, all named after Farsley landmarks.

Keen to work with local suppliers where possible, Amity Brew Co has appointed the interiors team behind Sarto, Headingley Stadium and the Masons Gin School and Distillery, Wetherby-based Design Tonic to design and fit the brewpub. The industrial yet green space will have social distancing is at the heart of the design including no seats at the bar, a one way system, maximising outdoor space and ensuring the tables and chairs that can be moved easily.

“Launching a business post Covid-19 really adds the pressure on but we’ve been heartened to see how the local community has rallied together and we feel the brewpub is exactly what the community will embrace at this time. We are adaptable and nimble enough to make sure that our plans can quickly change according to any government restrictions that might be passed in the future as we all adapt to the world with Covid-19.”

To find out more about the launch and to keep informed of future announcements visit

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