Independent Leeds business North Brewing Co / North Bar Ltd has been crowned best brewing pub company at the Morning Advertiser’s Publican Awards.

Christian Townsley John Gyngell North
North founders Christian Townsley and John Gyngell celebrate their Publicans Awards win. Photograph: North Brewing Co

The award comes after a challenging year for North. The pandemic saw its bars switch between being closed, being open as bottle shops, and being open as bars numerous times.

The judges praised the creativity with which North approached covid 19 — including its ‘Buy the NHS a pint’ scheme — its focus on sustainability, and record e-commerce turnover.

North was also shortlisted for best pub employer, and head of retail Fiona Potts was shortlisted for outstanding industry contribution for her work during the pandemic.

Alongside dealing with the challenges of covid, 2020 also saw North Brewing Co undertake its biggest project to date — the careful restoration of a 21,000 sq ft former steelworks, Springwell.

North co-founder, John Gyngell, said: “Winning this award at the end of an incredibly challenging year means everything to us. It’s a testament to the flexibility and creativity of our team, and the support that we have received from our customers over the past 12 months.

“Whilst 2020 has been a tough year, we are so inspired by the space that we have built at Springwell. Creating a hub for North at the brewery will strengthen the connection between our team, bars, brewery, and wider community.

“We are now focused on preparing to re-open the bars and bottleshops, and welcome the first guests to the taproom at Springwell.”

A 500-person capacity taproom will pour draught North beers fresh from the brewery, with festivals, events, brewery tours, street food traders, a merchandise shop, pop-up art exhibitions, and space for private hire. The taproom will open for putside drinking on 16th April.

North’s brewing output will increase to 16,000 hectolitres (2.8 million pints a year) this year. The company has received a Business Growth Programme Fund award from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to support the Springwell project and generate seven further jobs in the business.

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