A South Tyneside MP is raising a glass to the borough’s reborn brewery - and has pledged to make it the toast of Westminster.
Ambitious businessman Mark Robinson is aiming to be a real ‘ale-blazer’ after launching Arbier Brewery - less than a year after time was called on its financially-stricken predecessor Jarrow Brewery.
The forward-thinking 53-year-old has already ploughed £50,000 of fresh investment into the project after striking a deal to purchase Jarrow Brewery’s brewing plant, as well as the recipe for all of its award-winning tipples, after it slumped into administration.
He is hoping to keep the defunct brewery’s legacy alive with an initial batch of four new ales now on tap at a string of pubs across the borough, with hopes high that they could soon be sampled at the House of Commons.
Now Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn has welcomed the rebirth of brewing in South Tyneside, and is eager to serve up plenty of cross-party support in the Commons.
Mr Hepburn said: “I am delighted that South Tyneside once again has a brewery serving the local area.
I wish Arbier the very best of luck and every success.Stephen Hepburn
“It was a great shame when the Jarrow Brewery ceased to be, and I am therefore very pleased that Arbier have now taken up the mantle.
“I have approached Parliament with a view to my colleagues being able to sample a taste of Jarrow in the near future.
“I wish Arbier the very best of luck and every success.”
Mr Robinson has vital help at hand for his bold venture from two former Jarrow Brewery workers, Shaun Dunn, who is in charge of transport logistics, and head brewer Mikaela Finnigan.
The four new beers – called Legacy, Renaissance, Decadence and Reformation – are just the start of an ambitious expansion plan.
They are on sale from today at McConnell’s Gin and Ale House in Walter Street, Jarrow, the Holborn Rose and Crown, The Address and the Marine, all South Shields, The Jolly Sailor in Whitburn, The Beggars Bridge at East Boldon, and the Duke of Wellington in Newcastle.
Mr Robinson said: “We have four beers at the moment and would like there to be a minimum of 39 on sale over the next 18 months.
“We are looking to distribute to between 200 and 300 pubs. We are already supplying the gin and ales for the Bill Quay Beer and Music Festival during the bank holiday weekend this month.
“The festival attracts 2,000 to 3,000 people and will be a great way to spread our word.
“At the moment the business is three people including myself, but we are looking to expand.
“Shaun and Mikaela lost their jobs when Jarrow Brewery closed, so it is great that we can get them back in work.”