Brewery set to expand with visitor centre

BRANCHING OUT ... Jarrow Brewery owner Jess McConnell, looking to expand into the unit nextdoor.
BRANCHING OUT ... Jarrow Brewery owner Jess McConnell, looking to expand into the unit nextdoor.

VISITORS to a brewery plant could soon be toasting the Jarrow Marchers.

Plans have been unveiled to create a new visitor centre at Jarrow Brewery, at Bede Industrial Estate, Jarrow.

Brewery owners Jess and Alison McConnell have submitted plans to buy a vacant unit next door to their plant.

This could be used to both showcase the brewery’s popular ales and create an exhibition and drama space, to illustrate aspects of the town’s history, including the famous 1936 crusade for jobs.

If the plans are approved by South Tyneside Council, the brewery could invest up to £200,000 in the expansion plans.

Mr McConnell said: “The extra space would allow us to create a visitor centre at the brewery, so that people could learn about our beers while also learning about the story of the Jarrow March and other aspects of the town’s history.

“There could also be an educational aspect to the scheme, including school visits. We hope to team up with the people at Bede’s World as we develop the new centre.”

The extension would incorporate a cold room for Jarrow Brewery beers, which include the highly popular Rivet Catcher, plus attractions for visitors.

Mr McConnell added: “The empty unit next door has plenty of room for both a history exhibition space and even for a performing arts space.

“Drama performances could be linked to exhibitions and we would also like to involve local museums.”

Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn launched the £500,000 beer plant last October.

Jarrow Brewery secured £140,000 through the Regional Growth Fund to expand its operations, including the creation of 14 new jobs.

The plant is also helping boost brewing capacity to 72,000 pints a week, while Carlsberg UK is making Jarrow Brewery ales available at pubs throughout the country.

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