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11th March 2015

Brewer returns to the North East to inspire entrepreneurs. SCROLL DOWN FOR HI-RES PHOTO LINK.

The founder of a Lake District brewery, who studied brewing in Sunderland, has returned to the region to tell the story of how he went from news correspondent to entrepreneur.

Speaking to members of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum at a special event, held at Teesside University’s Darlington Campus, Alex Brodie addressed a gathering of more than 40 entrepreneurs.

In 2002, after more than 30 years in journalism, and with zero business experience, former BBC foreign correspondent Alex Brodie decided to follow his passion for beer and invested £40,000 into starting up Hawkshead Brewery in South Lakeland. When embarking on his new career, Mr Brodie studied at a BrewLab course at Sunderland University.

He now employs 20 people, has a turnover of £2.5m and has moved from the barn, in which he started the brewery, into stylish premises, including a beer hall and acclaimed restaurant, in Staveley, near Kendall.

Prior to leading a sampling session of the brewery’s ales, Mr Brodie told the audience about some of the lessons he had learned in establishing and running the business. He said: “I’m in favour of consultants, so long as they are top notch. The one piece of advice I offer prospective brewers is, know what you don’t know and buy it in. It’s important because there is a skills shortage in the brewing industry. Too many small brewers think it’s easy and they can get by, and it shows.

“Everyone was low paid at the start, but they knew that their pay would rise as we grew, and it has. They are on board and we all have fun and I don’t just mean the beer allowance at the end of the day.”

Nigel Mills, chairman of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, said: “It was a brilliant presentation. This is an unbelievable example of how you can follow your passion and create a fabulous business.”

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CONTACT: Paul White on 01325 363436

Photo caption: Alex Brodie addresses members of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum


Notes to editors: The Entrepreneurs’ Forum was founded in 2002 by North East England’s leading entrepreneurs to provide inspiration and a helping hand to the region’s business owners.

Today, the Forum has over 300 individual member companies from across the region, all part of a unique cross-sector peer group of like-minded people who share ideas, knowledge and connections.

The combined turnover of the members is in excess of £6.9 billion per annum and these businesses employ more than 34,000 people.

Sales growth in these entrepreneurial businesses is up to ten times greater than the regional average, with the number of companies trading internationally almost double.