Reborn Vaux Brewery set to open its own Sunderland brewery and bar

A reborn brewing name is set to open its own brewery and adjoining bar.

Saturday, 14th March 2020, 8:00 am
From left to right, Vaux Brewery's Matthew Jackson, Ross Palmer, Michael Thompson and Steven Smith.
From left to right, Vaux Brewery's Matthew Jackson, Ross Palmer, Michael Thompson and Steven Smith.

Vaux Brewery hopes to have both in operation in Monk Street, off Roker Avenue, Sunderland, by June.

The business, founded by four school friends, has been searching for suitable premises since resurrecting the legendary Vaux name after a 20-year absence.

The original Vaux Breweries closed in 1999 with the loss of around 700 jobs from the heart of the city.

Since its rebirth last year, the new Vaux firm has brewed a handful of original beers with help from both Sunderland brewing expert Brewlab and Durham Brewery.

Owning its own brewery and tap room, however, will enable it to generate more revenue and to experiment with new drinks while also producing historic Vaux recipes.

Managing director Steven Smith, 38, said: “We are really excited about bringing something new to Sunderland and to contribute to all the exciting regeneration going on at the moment.”

Given the original Vaux’s sponsorship ties with Sunderland Football Club, Mr Smith is hoping that it will prove popular with Black Cats fans heading to the Stadium of Light just minutes away.

He added: “We have been looking for a suitable unit for over a year now and wanted to be in the heart of Sunderland from the outset.

“This unit is ideal for us as it’s 2,000sq ft so it’s big enough for us to house the brewery whilst also giving us enough space to create a permanent tap room open to the public.”

The plans are currently under consideration by Sunderland City Council with Mr Smith hoping that the brewery can open in April with the tap room following in June.

The brewery is likely to be producing beer from Mondays to Thursdays with the bar opening from Fridays to Sundays and for one-off events.

Mr Smith said: “People stepping inside the tap room will feel as though they are walking into the brewery because they will be able to see the brewing kit.

“The tap room will allow us to meet the overheads on the building and we can use the money to grow the brewing side and eventually take it further afield and hopefully explore markets in Durham, Yorkshire and Northumberland.”

Mr Smith, a solicitor, founded Vaux Brewery with its finance director, Michael Thompson, 38, who has worked in commercial finance for banks.

They are joined by Matthew Jackson, 37, a communications manager, and Ross Palmer, 37, a creative designer, who work part-time in communications and branding roles respectively.

All four attended Sunderland’s St Aidan’s Academy.

As well as producing beers such as Ernest best bitter – in honour of one-time Vaux owner Ernest Vaux – and India Pale Ale (IPA) Decent Days and Nights, the business has also sold a range of Vaux-branded memorabilia such as hats, beers glasses and T-shirts.

Mr Smith added: “The first year has been a case of us cutting our teeth and slowly working out what we can do with it.

“But there is no doubt that there is a tremendous affection still for Vaux and its links to Sunderland.”