So the last Manchester Brewery Expo was in 2015 and you can read my thoughts on it over these 3 parts.
2015 was held over 2 days and whereas technically so was this year’s event, only the Saturday saw all the breweries open.
Also changed was that a Tote bag was not the prize on offer but a t-shirt, plus the fact that 2017 was the nice relaxed event that 2015 became (and actually ended up being) because this year was not controlled by a raging egomaniac.
Rather than regale you with what its like to drink in 11 different breweries this piece is just going to be about the differences between 2015 and 2017.
Irk Valley Breweries
Green Quarter, Red Bank, call this place what you like its the one where the arches the breweries are housed in are service by Victoria Station.
The easiest place to start is that in the storied past of a whole 2 years ago there was only 1 brewery tap open and that was Blackjack. They are still going strong, strong even; after the evolution of good, non-portable toilets at their tap they have also launched a token system which improves the experience two-fold; less queuing to get a beer and those staff who volunteer to work the bar don’t have to suffer that bloody temperamental cash till. I think Six O’Clock Beer Co. still cuckoos here too.
It is also worth noting that Blackjack also took control of the Smithfield Hotel in central Manchester and Jack in the Box in Altrincham prior to that. Bush outside brewery still progressing nicely.
Runaway are about to launch a weekly tap themselves, this to complement the new mezzanine they’ve installed at the brewery which is a nice extension, even if it does mean queuing on stairs for beer.
The first of the new breweries in Manchester city centre (well on this list) and also with a regular Friday/Saturday brewery tap. Nice toilet signs.
They don’t have a tap and they weren’t open this year as part of the expo but they don’t need to be. They themselves have expanded since 2015, with a new outlet called 57 Thomas Street in the quickly becoming irrelevant Northern Quarter as well as an expansion into canning their beers and launching a whole host of new brews, which someone once suggested made Marble the premier lager producers of Manchester.
This stretches from Piccadilly Station to Ardwick (seldom visited by trains, better shrubbery than Blackjack) and if you survive crossing the Mancunian Way, you’ll probably cop it from the nut jobs that speed down either side, despite the chalked pleas of the locals.
Semi-regular brew tap which is always very popular. Everyone loves Sonoma.
Weekly brew tap, this brewery seemed to steal a march with regards canning their beers. The regular occurrence of the tap also forced them to install extra toilets and the loudest but best hand drier.
A complete lack of social media presence doesn’t detract from the newest brewery on the block, with a pedigree shared between the aforementioned Marble and the heavily worshipped Huddersfield outfit that is Magic Rock.
Just starting in 2015, not open in 2017 but still around in some capacity, which may also see yet another brewery appear in central Manchester too.
Replacing Privateer, this brewery lead the charge of a regular weekly brew tap, also expanded into the other half of the arch and is launching their own Heritage Beers Barrel funding thing, which in itself has exceed expectation has also expanded its funding limit. Origami cuckoos from here too.
Expanded capacity, now canning generally exclusively and still not confirmed if they are going with Tesco or not…well that is what everyone wanted to know.
Another addition since 2015, with semi regular brew taps. Has a ping-pong table.
Only opened again for the first time since 2015 (that is what I’m telling myself anyway), they work closely, almost symbiotically with Track to host brew taps throughout the year. Did not serve Tagine on this day and toilet not as spectacular as it once was but these are minor quibbles. Is looking to get a new fermenter.
Add to this that those breweries that did start out as one man outfits have now also expanded their staffing and it is showing to me at least, a human who did think that there were too many breweries and that some were bound to fold quickly, has not come to pass.
In the centre of Manchester.
Breweries are dropping in the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester but that is another story.