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24th September 2021

Major relaunch for popular Wakefield brew-pub, Fernandes Brewery Tap & Bierkeller

A much-loved Wakefield brew-pub is to take on a new lease of life following a major spend by the progressive Ossett Brewing Company.

Since closure in July, Ossett has invested a significant amount to refurbish the Fernandes Brewery Tap and Bierkeller in the Old Maltings, Avison Yard, Kirkgate. A former winner of Yorkshire CAMRA Pub of the Year, Fernandes is steeped in brewing history and will be relaunched on Friday 24th September from 4pm as Luis Bar – a tribute to the Portuguese immigrant Luis Fernandes who constructed the three story maltings building in the 1800s.

With several uses during the 20th century, the building became a brewery and off-licence when local couple Maureen and Dave James acquired the property in 1994 and installed a 2.5bbl brewing plant. Ossett Brewing Co purchased the building in 2007 to create a popular cask ale venue with 10 hand pumps plus the Bierkeller with a wide range of authentic continental lagers.

Under a new management team, Luis Bar will remain a cask lover’s paradise with Fernandes and Ossett ales to the fore while also offering selected craft beers and cocktails on tap. Former Ossett telesales manager, Liz Hughes will run the new look venue alongside Howard Hughes and Gerald Wood, local businessmen who have supplied the brewery with artwork and signage for years. They are the first licensee’s to enter into tenancy with Ossett Brewing Co. Howard and Gerald will also take over the brewing of the highly regarded Fernandes ales.

Jamie Lawson, Co-owner of Ossett Brewing Company says: “Fernandes is a much acclaimed brew-pub in the heart of Wakefield. However, a substantial refurbishment was needed to ensure it could continue to welcome its very loyal customers while also attracting new supporters in today’s very vibrant and challenging pub scene.

“Consequently we decided to make this key investment in a major uplift and makeover for the venue, while maintaining its highly valued ambience and character. It is a ground-breaking step for our pub estate, we are very pleased to welcome aboard the new management team under our first ever tenancy agreement. All three have a long association with us and will play an important role in an exciting future for this much-loved venue under its new identity as Luis Bar.”

Joint licensee Liz Hughes said: “After working with Ossett Brewing Co for nearly 20 years in various roles, I am delighted to be carrying on a relationship in this exciting new role alongside

Howard and Gerald, who also both know the company very well. We are very much looking forward to working with Ossett and tackling the challenges ahead to take the new Luis Bar forward as a top-class pub venue for the town”

ends/ref: Ossett PR 26


LUIS Bar and Fernandes Brewery is steeped in brewing history, dating back to 1850.

Jose Luis Fernandes, born in Portugal 1790, grandson of the Marquis de Tavora. Left Portugal aged 18 to pursue business interests in Wakefield. Married Martha, daughter of Richard Nowell of Wakefield, owner of Soke Mills.  JL inherits Nowell’s business interests and grows the business to include corn-milling and brewing. Jose Luis passes away 1868 and leaves his sons the brewery founded in 1850.  The brewery, originally named Fernandes Old Bridge Brewery, was located next to Chantry Bridge.  LUIS Bar was the malt store for the original Fernandes Brewery.

Nowell Luis Fernandes born 1811 in Wakefield. Eldest son of José Luis Fernandes.  The brewery later renamed NL Fernandes. His brothers also join the brewing business, a true family affair.  He passes away 1890 leaving the business to his seven children. The pub estate grows to 79 pubs, including local favourites like The Mason Arms in Ossett, later becoming the Ossett Brewery Tap!  In 1920 Fernandes sells to John Smith’s Brewery Ltd. This property later became part of Beverley Brothers Ltd, Eagle Brewery, Wakefield. Founded 1861 on nearby Harrison Street. A popular local brewery for over 100 years.  Acquired by Watney Mann Brewing Ltd.,1967 with 173 pubs.  Ossett Brewing Co. founder Bob Lawson began his brewing career aged 18 at Beverleys in 1964! In 1994 David and Maureen James set up M & D Homebrew in this building selling supplies to local brewing enthusiasts. David starts brewing in the cellar here in 1997 where it continues to this day. Two years later a bar is added to the brewery and the building becomes a pub for the first time.

The business sells in 2007 to current owners, Ossett Brewery Pub Company Ltd.  Pub company founder Jamie Lawson originally converts the homebrew shop into a Belgium beer bar and later in 2021 the ground and upper floor become one venue.  LUIS Bar was born as a fitting tribute to local brewing history.  Liz and Howard Hughes became the first pub tenants of Ossett Brewery at LUIS Bar in September 2021.

Ossett Brewing Co has invested £3m in recent years in brewing capacity, warehousing and packaging resources together with the SALT Beer Factory in Saltaire, an award winning innovative craft brewery housed in a Grade II Edwardian tramshed at the heart of the Unesco World Heritage village.

Press release from Ossett Brewery


Leanne Jackson Group Marketing & Events Manager,M. 07703 729696 | E.