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Brewing entrepreneur cracks booze trade

“I liked drinking beer,” said Hick. “And I’d experimented with brewing while at university on a small scale. It was only a hobby, but people liked it. I got an MSC in enterprise and bioscience from Sunderland – there was a business skills module too and I decided to strike out on my own.”

Tom Hick founded the Allendale Brewing Company in 2006. He tracked down a derelict premises, but had no means of converting the place into a brewery. So, he approached his father with a business plan.

Luckily for Hick, his father was a management trainer and saw the promise in the scheme. He remortgaged the family home, and work started on the brewery. The re-fit and launch set the pair back £180,000.

Two years on, Hick is turning over £150,000, with five proprietary beers and a pub under his belt. “Next year we should do £200,000. That’s if any pubs in Britain are still open,” laughs Hick. “What with the smoking ban and the poor weather in summer, pub sales have taken a real hit. But we’re still growing at a difficult time. When the economic climate’s better we’ll do really well.”

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