Wakefield pub re-opens for business - powered by its own microbrewery

Master brewers: Ian, Tim and Gary in their new pub.
Master brewers: Ian, Tim and Gary in their new pub.

A pub that has been shut for five years will open again for business today - powered by its own microbrewery.

The Calder Vale in Horbury Junction has been taken over by a group of three former Horbury School friends who have also launched The Luddite Brewery Company.

The Luddites were a movement in the early 19th century who campaigned against technology. The brewery name stems from the first raid of the Yorkshire Luddites, which took place on the site on April 9, 1812.

Six-hundred men descended on Fosters Mill in Horbury Bridge to protest to the owner about installing machinery that they claimed would destroy their livelihoods.

And with the future of many pubs still uncertain, director Ian Sizer says they are taking a back-to-basics approach .

They intend to shun the corporate brands in favour of locally-brewed beers and distillery-made spirits.

The pub will now serve as the brewery tap, with much of the beer made on-site.

He said: “With a name like Luddite it would be disrespectful to the original Luddites to be selling mass-produced, corporate big-beer brands in our own tap.

“It’s getting harder and harder for the smaller brewers to get a place on the bar, so as well as selling our own brews, we’ll be doing to do our bit to support them and give West Yorkshire beer lovers another destination to add to their list.”

Joining Ian are his pals Tim Murphy and Gary Portman.

Gary said: “We had a preview night on Tuesday in honour of the original Luddites and all our beers will have a Luddite theme. We will be making April 9 an annual event at The Calder.”

The pub, which was formerly known as The Drop Inn, was given planning permission to open its own brewery in June 2017 with a ‘five-barrel’ system which could create up to 1,400 pints at a time. It was estimated that the microbrewery would brew twice a week.