Folk pitch in to support Evenwood brewery’s plans for bar
A DALE craft beer brewer has been overwhelmed by the response to his crowdfunding effort to build a new tap room.
Danny McColl, of McColl’s Brewery, in Evenwood, had initially hoped to raise just £2,000 to update his tap room but was left gobsmacked when he more than doubled the target within days.
Before the pandemic, the tap room, on the Randolph Industrial Estate, was so popular when it opened on the last Friday and Saturday of each month that it became clear more space was need.
Mr McColl said: “It has served us well. It has been really popular with the people in Evenwood and they have seen it as an extension of the village.
“Everyone who has come in has pretty much returned again and again. We’ve got a grandad, a dad and a grandson who all come in together.”
Although the brewery has a licence to accommodate 50 people, the space is confined with people sitting at tables among the brewing tanks.
Mr McColl wanted to free up some space by moving the toilet entrance, making an L-shaped bar and adding a flight of stairs so that a space above the brewery office can be converted into a lounge area.
The brewer said: “We want a nice proper tidy bar to come to rather than something on an industrial estate.”
But when Covid-19 restrictions came into place, there was no cash to expand the tap room.
Mr McColl said: “Overnight 95 per cent of our business disappeared. That week our online sales went through the roof, but that didn’t fill the void – we got back about 75 per cent of our business.”
The craft brewer decided to turn to crowdfunding to
raise the cash, offering rewards such as brew day experience and bar tabs as incentives for people to made donations.
He launched the campaign on Saturday, July 4.
By reaching the initial £2,000 target the business was given another £1,000 from a commitment from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.
Mr McColl said: “I have been blown away. Before the pandemic the local support was brilliant.
“Then the pandemic happened and the amount of beer local people have bought has saved the business.
“Then the whole crowd
funder and the comments people have made on the crowdfunding site, it is all so reassuring.
“I can’t wait until it is all normal and people can come back in and enjoy the tap room.”
As an additional thank you the brewery is offering a lucky draw for anyone who donates £5 or more to the crowdfunder, with the grand prize being free beer for a year.
Mr McColl said: “Wherever you are we will deliver a case of beer to your door every month for 12 months.”
Anyone who wants to support the appeal can visit crowdfunder.co.uk/lets-make-the-tap-room-a-brilliant-place-for-all.