Sunderland's Maxim Brewery resurrects forgotten festive favourite to top off their 20th anniversary year
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Maxim Brewery, formed out of the ashes of Sunderland’s Vaux Breweries in 1999, vowed to celebrate its 20th year in business by producing 20 beers.
Combining new creations and old tipples, the last to appear is St Nicholas’s Winter Tipple.
Described as containing flavours of coffee, chocolate and caramel, the 4% dark beer was last produced by Vaux around a quarter of a century ago.
Managing director Mark Anderson, who was finance director at Vaux when it controversially closed, said: “It is appropriate that we mark 20 years as a brewery and 20 years since Vaux closed with a 20th beer which celebrates Vaux.”
St Nicholas’s Winter Tipple is now available on cask at pubs throughout the region alongside seasonal Maxim Brewery beers Santa’s Soot and Hapi Christmas Ale.
Among the 19 other beers produced as part of the anniversary year were Gold Tankard, acknowledging Vaux’s sponsorship of horse and pigeon races, and Fairground, an IPA toasting the nearby Houghton Feast.
Maxim Brewery, based at Gadwall Road, Rainton Bridge, near Houghton, bought the rights to brew classic concoctions such as Double Maxim, Samson and Lambton’s after Vaux directors followed the advice of city financiers and closed their brewing operations to concentrate on their retail outlets.
Around 700 jobs were lost before the Vaux name disappeared completely after 193 years when its pubs and hotels were quickly sold.
Speaking about the future of Maxim Brewery and the brewing industry, Mr Anderson said: “The industry for small brewers is very challenging with big international global breweries putting their squeeze on the market.
“With our quality of products, we have been very competitive and have seen trade steadily grow. Double Maxim, in particular, is going from strength to strength and we are struggling to keep up with demand.”
Double Maxim is to be sold in around 900 Wetherspoon pubs nationwide from January through to March with the brewery also planning to host another Vaux reunion evening in 2020 following the success of a 20th anniversary celebration night in July.