Sunderland brewery launches collection and delivery service - and comes up with idea for out of date beer

A brewery has lived up to its name by evolving to meet the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

Wednesday, 27th May 2020, 11:41 am
Julio Romero Johnson, left, and Keith Thomas, from Darwin Brewery, with some of the bottled beers they are now selling direct from the premises.

Darwin Brewery, named after evolutionary pioneer Charles Darwin, has reopened after a two-month lockdown lay-off and launched a drive through collection service.

The business, which has adapted its safety procedures to protect staff and customers, is also delivering locally.

Among the eight bottled beers currently available are Darwin mainstays Evolution Ale bitter and Beagle Blonde light ale.

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Darwin Brewery's Sunderland premises.

Project brewer Julio Romero Johnson says: “It has been a difficult time after the closure of pubs but drinkers increasingly recognise that supply of local beers is possible direct from the brewery.

“We want to continue producing our range of Darwin beers and supplement these with limited edition brews from our small research brewkit.

“Bottles and minikegs will be available for collection from the brewery on Thursdays and local delivery on Fridays.”

Director Keith Thomas believes “direct sales to customers is one way forward for breweries to regenerate”.

He also has an idea on what to do with beer which has passed its sell-by date while lying idle inside the nation’s closed pubs.

He said: “It is a tragedy that up to 70 million pints of unsalable beer is estimated to be locked up in UK pub cellars.

“The stronger beers may mature but most are likely to be discarded.

“If Revenue and Customs would allow, it could be possible to convert some into malt vinegar for when pub meals start again.”

Darwin Brewery, based at West Quay Court, Sunderland Enterprise Centre, is the sister business of brewing expert Brewlab, which moved to the city more than 20 years ago and offers a range of services to clients worldwide.

It comes as the Echo is running our #supportlocal campaign encouraging people to shop at our independent businesses where possible.

It is the latest in Sunderland to launch a socially-distanced collection service.

The historic Saltgrass pub, in Ayres Quay, Deptford, also started a collection and delivery service for five-litre casks of different real ales.

Darwin’s orders can be made online at or on (0191)5499450.

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