Glass half full as brewery site opens

AN award winning brewery toasted more success at the opening of new premises set to add to Great Yarmouth's array of top tourist attractions.Glasses were raised to celebrate the first beers produced at the new Blackfriars Brewery site close to the town's seafront this week.

AN award winning brewery toasted more success at the opening of new premises set to add to Great Yarmouth's array of top tourist attractions.

Glasses were raised to celebrate the first beers produced at the new Blackfriars Brewery site close to the town's seafront this week.

It was the 200th brew in total for the business previously based at a humble borough council start up unit.

Later this month a visitor centre, shop and licensed bar will open in the former fish-curing factory on Main Cross Road.


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Owner Bill Russell is hoping to create a unique visitor experience with a collection of brewing memorabilia and Blackfriars beers on tap along with a range of ciders.

Staff from neighbouring Rex Studios, better known for their film-set work, have been busy transforming part of the premises into an historic pub setting for a new licensed bar and shop.

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Starting just four years ago, Blackfriars has enjoyed heady success being garlanded with awards and proving popular with beer drinkers throughout East Anglia.

Mr Russell has also organised the Great Yarmouth Beer Festival for the last two years, which has attracted real ale enthusiasts from far and wide.

Mr Russell said: “We have taken on a five-year lease which is a big commitment. The reason we moved here is to be part of the south Yarmouth regeneration story.

“Over the road is one of the possible sites for the town's large casino and the outer harbour is rapidly taking shape nearby. From here we can look both east and west - and think about exporting beer to Holland.”

Since launching the business with the help of friend and former Suffolk teacher Maurice Leybourne, Mr Russell has taken on three employees, and depending on the success of the bar and shop he intends to add more staff.

The new site has enough room to respond to a growing demand for brewery tours, and Mr Russell is also planning beer festivals and live music events in the courtyard.

There will also be the opportunity for groups to turn their hand to brewing their own beers on the premises.

The building's owners Bruce Carter and Joe Larter are hoping the arrival of the brewery will help towards their aim of transforming it into an arts and crafts centre.

Mr Carter, the managing director of Rex Studios, said: “It is very exciting to have the brewery moving in. The building has a lot of potential and in a great location by the sea front, we would like to see a craft centre opening here and perhaps a beer museum too.”

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