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brewSocial: A social enterprise beer in a social enterprise bar

Sheffield's newest brewery, whose first commercial beer will be vegan, is employing people normally disadvantaged in the labour market.

Brew Social
Dave Pickersgill

Located in a railway arch in Attercliffe, brewSocial is Sheffield's newest brewery. Head Brewer, Richard Hough, estimates that the two 4.5 Bbl. fermenting vessels will produce around 30 (nine gallon) firkins/week. With assistance, Richard is currently organising the space, testing the kit and ensuring the legal requirements are in place. The planned first commercial beer is an unfined, vegan 4.0% pale.

Their distinctive red and yellow casks were sourced from Eccles-based First Chop, their colour suggesting the branding, which utilises a similar red/yellow palette. The brew kit was previously used by Port Mahon Brewery, then Little Ale Cart in the ‘Brick Shed' located behind the Wellington (Shalesmoor).

Brew Social
Dave Pickersgill

Richard is a very experienced brewer. His CV includes Abbeydale at the time when Moonshine became the top-selling cask ale in Sheffield. He was also co-founder of Blue Bee Brewery before stints at Acorn, Lenton Lane and Shiny. He is looking forward to the challenges of working as part of the wider Yes2Ventures (Y2V) umbrella. brewSocial are linked to Y2V, a locally-based Social Firm development agency that aims to create employment and training opportunities for people who are disadvantaged in the labour market.

brewSocial has the same community ethos, providing a variety of local employment opportunities: brewery work, cleaning, delivery, logistics, marketing and more. Dan Carter, Manager of the associated Travel Service put it neatly: "Lots of different people do lots of different things".

Y2V originated 23 years ago as The Anthony Davison Trust, providing accommodation for adults with learning disabilities. The name change came in 2002. Successful projects include Buster’s Coffee Company (cafés in Doncaster, Leeds, and Sheffield); a travel support service; Viewpoint Research, a telephone-based research service and Yes2Work, a New Deal for Disabled People job broker.

Y2V also manage theSocial (24-26 Snig Hill). Opened in August 2021: in addition to the bar, the complex also encompasses an art gallery and performance space. Licensee Juliet Portchmouth is looking forward to hosting the launch of the first casks from beerSocial, saying, "I am excited to have our new beer on the pumps at theSocial! It will compliment our varied range."

As Y2V Founder Director, Mark Powell states, "Having a job and feeling good about it – that’s an experience the people we work with have rarely had. They don’t fit conventional job descriptions, but I bet they’ll brew good beer."

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