A Barnsley independent brewery hopes to see hundreds of forgotten beer barrels roll back in to the business as it launches a cask amnesty.
Acorn Brewery has asked 400 pubs and bars to have a look in the back of their cellars and yards – and return any stray casks they find to the brewery to put back into circulation.
Dave Hughes, owner of Acorn Brewery said: “Every week we produce and send out about 100 barrels of real ale. A lot of that beer is delivered via wholesalers to hundreds of pubs and bars across the UK, but we also deliver direct to more than 400 customers in the North and East Midlands.
“It’s these customers we’ve asked to have shufty in their back rooms, to see if they can find any stray empty casks and give them to our van drivers on their next visit.
“Pubs are very busy places and ours is certainly a high-turnover product. We expect some loss of barrels of course, but we have an excellent relationship with our customers so thought we’d ask them to help us put some misplaced casks back into action.
“We aim to be as green and sustainable a business as possible and don’t like to think of them sitting there not being put to good use carrying our beer!”
Dave says they have sent out around 2,000 casks over the last 12 years and reckons about 1,600 are in circulation today. Casks cost about £60 each and are re-usable many times. When they come back in to the brewery, they are washed, sterilised and refilled with prime real ale to return to the pubs with a shelf-life of four to five weeks.
Dave and the team are keen to get some misplaced casks back in to business now as they have launched their summer beers for the holiday season.
Dave said: “We’ve brewed a summer beer called Summer Pale and a cricket-themed one called Burning Bails and so have extra deliveries to make at this time of year.
“Plus of course all this warm weather makes our customers thirsty.”
Acorn Brewery, based on Aldham industrial estate in Wombwell, was established in 2003 and now has a turnover of £1.2 million and employs 12 people.
The expanding brewery has doubled production in the last seven years and now routinely brews 30,000 pints of ale a week. In the last 12 months alone, sales have risen by a further 12 per cent and Dave aims to increase trade by another 20 per cent this year.
Acorn produces six permanent ales, Barnsley Bitter, Barnsley Gold, Yorkshire Pride, Blonde, Gorlovka and Old Moor Porter; plus a wide range of seasonal IPAs and kegged beers. It also sells bottled beers to supermarkets, other retail outlets and export customers.
The brewery also runs the Old No 7 in Barnsley town centre where it showcases Acorn’s own beers amongst other worldwide brands.