A SOUTH Tyneside brewery is toasting its latest expansion plans – with the luck of the Irish!
Jarrow Brewery is set to take over The Borough Arms, said to be the oldest pub in Gateshead.
The borough-based real ale business has also relaunched its McConnell’s Irish Stout in keg form, which will be sold to various pubs and clubs.
Launched in 2002, Jarrow Brewery has quickly grown to include two brewery sites and several pubs, including The Robin Hood in Jarrow, The Maltings in South Shields and The Isis in Sunderland.
Owner Jess McConnell has announced he is planning to sell the Magnesia Bank pub in North Shields, but is taking over The Borough Arms, in Bensham Road, Gateshead.
And the Jarrow-based brewery is pre-empting complaints that McConnell’s Irish Stout is not actually brewed in Ireland.
Mr McConnell said: “Jarrow, where we brew the stout, used to be known as ‘Little Ireland,’ because of the thousands of people from Ireland who poured into the town in the 19th and 20th centuries looking for work at Palmer’s Shipyard.
“There was a specific recruitment drive in Ireland for Palmer’s yard in Jarrow, which used to be known as ‘Paddy’s Shipyard,’ because of all the Irishmen who worked there.”
He said:“So we can still claim that McConnell’s Irish Stout is brewed in ‘Little Ireland,’ and we see it as the obvious rival to Guinness.”
Mr McConnell added: “We are pleased to be taking over The Borough Arms, which dates from the 19th century and is said to be the oldest pub in Gateshead.
“The pub will be very much ale-focused and we will reopen it following refurbishment, probably at the end of this month.”
Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn launched the brewery’s new £500,000 beer plant at the Bede Industrial Estate, Jarrow, last October.
The brewery had earlier secured £140,000 through the Regional Growth Fund to expand its operations, including the creation of more than a dozen new jobs.
Brewing capacity has been expanded to 72,000 pints a week, while Carlsberg UK is making Jarrow Brewery ales available at pubs throughout the country.