Sunderland brewery to continue with direct sales to public after lockdown success

As the pub trade takes the first steps to getting back on its feet following this week’s announcement by Boris Johnson, a city brewery says it will continue to sell direct to the public too.

Thursday, 25th February 2021, 4:13 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th February 2021, 4:15 pm

Millions of gallons of beer went to waste across the country last March when the first lockdown hit and halted trade deliveries.

Many breweries had to adapt to survive by bottling their own brands and selling direct to the public for the first time.

Before the pandemic hit, Darwin Brewery’s main business was supplying up to 42 casks a month to pubs in Sunderland such as Ship Isis, Chaplins and The Blue Bell, as well as pubs in South Tyneside and Durham.

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Darwin Brewery will continue to brew for consumer trade

With no orders from pubs, staff at the brewery in Sunderland Enterprise Park began selling mini casks and bottle selection online or for click and collect direct to the public.

It’s a model that works well, and with many pubs without outdoor space unable to open from April 12, it’s one that’s helping to keep brewing going.

The micro brewery produces 550 litres of beer per brew, with the core range including a blonde, bitter, pale ale, lager, IPA and stout, as well as speciality brews.

Brewery and development manager Gav Sutherland says it will take some time for trade orders to return to normal.

Gav Sutherland, at Darwin Brewery

Gav, who said they have had a couple of trade enquiries since the Government announcement, said: "The announced roadmap from lockdown will be cautiously welcomed by many in the hospitality trade, but the majority of pubs will be unable to open in April due to lack of suitable outside space.

"I hope that further financial support for those pubs that can't open and their staff, and for breweries, like the grants in Scotland, will be announced.

"It has been a really tough year, but it is good news that over the next few months people may be able to get out for a pint again. We are looking forward to getting beer back in cask and keg and available to our customers and seeing familiar faces in the local trade."

To place an order with Darwin Brewery visit the website at

Darwin Brewery is part of the BrewLab training facility. Gav Sutherland with Richard Hunt from BrewLab.

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Brewing at Darwin Brewery.