AFTER being made redundant at the beginning of the first national lockdown, an award-winning team of four has reunited to form their very own brewery in the heart of Kendal.

Former Hawkshead Brewery employees Matt Clarke, Michelle Gay, Steve Rickett and Paul Sheldon have unveiled their new business venture, the Lakes Brew Co, which will focus on the thriving local independent beer scene.

The new brewery will be based on Mintsfeet Industrial Estate, housing a bespoke designed 16hl SSV brew kit, MicroCan CL5 canning line and a proposed pop-up tap room, providing fresh off the line craft beer.

The company hopes to have the first beers ready in June, available in can, keg and cask.

Ms Gay, who is also the company’s creative director with more than 15 years' experience in the industry, said the team was looking forward to developing a progressive and sociably innovative brewery in line with their own ethos and attitudes.

“This opportunity has come out of adversity,” she said.

“What most people would regard as a disaster – when we lost our jobs – means we can now build something fresh and new.”

Mr Rickett, a stalwart of the UK beer scene, brings over 20 years’ commercial experience at BrewDog, Heineken UK and Hawkshead Brewery to the team.

Mr Sheldon, a certified chartered accountant, focusing on commercial and operational finance, brings another decade of experience.

And Mr Clarke, the business’s brewer, will be responsible for creating a range of modern beer styles, focusing on freshness and quality and keen to use new hop varieties and yeast strains.

Mr Clarke, who as head brewer at Hawkshead was responsible for its most popular and award-winning beers, said: “We really look forward to working alongside like-minded artisanal businesses in the Lake District’s food and drink scene and collaborating with other Cumbrian businesses.”