A micro brewery, which is the first of its kind in South Shields, is celebrating a successful first year of trading despite the Covid-19 pandemic and has ambitious plans for 2022.
One More Than Two Brewery in Portberry Street, South Shields, opened in September 2020 with the idea of creating the first 'community brewery' in South Tyneside and since then the business has gone from strength to strength.
The brewery prides itself on its partnerships with other independent businesses in the North East. Founder Chris Donovan has a firm belief in showcasing other South Tyneside businesses and ultimately keeping money within the local economy, whilst providing an all-inclusive space for the local community.
They have also taken on a new starter through the Government Kickstart Scheme, which was put in place to create new jobs for 16- to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long-term employment.
Everything in the brewery, taproom and bottleshop is sourced locally from traditional real ales down to the nuts. An example is The Darkest of Dark Nights, a collaboration brew produced by One More Than Two Brewery, Sunderland's Darwin Brewery and Darlington's Little Quaker Distillery. The Darkest of Dark Nights is a 5% stout containing Christmas spices plus a twist of Little Quaker's Black Diamond Rum.
In 2020, the brewery sold 700 bottles in 10 days and this year they are on track to sell over 2000 litres of what it calls 'Christmas in a bottle'.
Since opening the business has continued to adapt and evolve with the times. During the lockdown periods, the brewery was able to continue trading as the bottleshop remained open and the company also launched a local home delivery service.
As hospitality reopened in the Spring, One More Than Two Brewery opened an outdoor space with ample seating. This then turned into an indoor-outdoor space and as the business transitioned into the winter period the brewery became a cosy space for the community to gather.
As part of ambitious growth plans, One More Than Two Brewery is now diversifying into events. From hosting local stand-up comedians in the 'Felt Nowt Comedy Night' to Beer Festivals to regular cocktail nights - there's something for everyone. The brewery is also offering the event space free of charge with a fully licensed taproom and catering available.
The brewery is also in partnership with South Shields Football Club as the sole provider of ale at the Mariners Park ground. In 2022, the first team and manager have been invited to brew their own exclusive club beer.
Chris says: "The pandemic highlighted the importance of community and togetherness for many people and One More Than Two Brewery wants to be that space for people in the North East. People often come into the brewery as strangers and leave as friends, and I believe the magic of the brewery is the culture we have created within it."
The brewery also works with the wider community to gain feedback on the beers produced as well as assist with research and development.
Chris continues: "It's important that we include the community to ensure we continue with our original philosophy of brewing beer South Tyneside can be proud of. Local partnerships and collaborations are also paramount to business success, and we are proud to champion our area and the wonderful businesses within it. We have a number of exciting partnerships in the pipeline and are incredibly excited and enthusiastic for the future."
Cllr Mark Walsh, Lead Member for Regeneration and Economy at South Tyneside Council said: "It's wonderful to see a local business thrive and champion the people and businesses in South Tyneside. Hospitality has suffered as much as any industry during the pandemic so it's particularly pleasing to see our local brewery doing so well. Congratulations on a successful year and we look forward to seeing what One More Than Two Brewery will do next."
The brewery's investor Catalage Ltd, which is based at One Trinity Green in South Shields, also holds micro-investments in a number of SMEs - some of which came out of association with the brewery, such as Digi Hippy media Ltd.