An award-winning brewery in York has launched a crowdfunding campaign so people can help create ‘the biggest and best beer venue in the city’.

Brew York opened its brewery, tap room and event space in Walmgate in 2016, and now plans a major expansion into the premises next door.

Customers who back the project can double their money in beer vouchers or choose from a range of other unique experiences.

Co-founders Wayne Smith and Lee Grabham say they have achieved their five-year targets already, and they are now ready to build on that success. Wayne said:

Once the work is complete we will have the biggest beer range anywhere in York. Brew York is already a really popular place among York beer drinkers, but this will take it to the next level.

No small beer

This is how the street food kitchen would look

The first target for the crowdfunding campaign is £40,000 but the more that is raised, the quicker the work can be carried out, subject to planning permission.

The new plans involve:

  • A permanent street food kitchen and bar, in what used to be the Jack Raine Boxing Club
  • The biggest on-tap beer range anywhere in York, with 40 beers available at a time
  • A new hoptail lounge, serving beer cocktails and running masterclasses
  • Trebling of brewing capacity, to increase production
  • Brewing classes for amateur enthusiasts
  • A new pilot brewery kit, to allow more experimental beers, or to allow companies and groups to brew their own beer for events.

There will also be a new lift to ensure the space is fully accessible and a canning machine, to improve quality control and increase canned production.

It should create around seven new jobs.

Design your own beer

Wayne and one of Brew York’s awesome beers. Photographs: Richard McDougall

On Friday (April 13) they launched their Join The Brew York (R)evolution campaign, inviting fans, beer enthusiasts and local residents to help fund their growth by choosing from eight investment options.

At the entry level, people contributing £50 will receive £100 back in beer vouchers.

At the top end, people or groups who invest £3,000 can invent and brew their own beer at the brewery, design the packaging, receive ten cases of it and bring 50 guests to the official launch party.

Lee said: “Our first two years have been incredible. When we were home-brewing a few years ago, we dreamt of having our own brewery but we couldn’t have imagined just how popular Brew York and our beers would be.

“We’ve loved getting to know our new customers and regulars, and now that we are ready to expand, we want them to be a part of it.”

Flashback to the launch party at Brew York

The campaign runs for three weeks, and will be promoted this weekend (April 13-14) at Brew York’s second birthday party.

This will include live music, street food, beer from several of England’s most-respected young breweries, and a fundraising drive for the National Autistic Society.

The eight investment options include

  • doubling your money in beer vouchers
  • free hire of the brewery’s mobile bar
  • joining the team for a brew day
  • and designing a beer with Wayne and Lee.

All investors will also be invited to the launch party when the work is complete, and will be given priority in any further equity crowdfunding opportunities in subsequent years.

The Brew York story

Brew York opened in April 2016 and enjoyed almost immediate success, winning champion beer at the 2016 York Beer and Cider Festival with Tonkoko, a coconut, chocolate, vanilla and tonka bean stout.

Many further awards have followed, including last summer when Keras American Pale Ale was named champion cask beer in the SIBA North East Independent Beer Awards.