Donkeystone delight as new licence signals bright future for brewery

A NEW range of beers, extra evening opening time, changing food menu and upcoming seasonal events are some of the attractions at a Saddleworth brewery.

With its green light from the local authority for a premises licence, Donkeystone is keen to maximise its new location at Wellington Industrial Park in Greenfield.

The brewery taproom is already reporting brisk business with plans to create a new space on the mezzanine floor.

“We are so pleased we have managed to recreate the cosy, family atmosphere from our previous location,” said sales and event manager James Uttley.

Ash Kelly, Matthew Johnson, Thomas Phelan, James Uttley

“Our street food vendors, The Konie Boys, are coming up with a fantastic new menu every week to keep customers well fed as they sup.

“We have added Thursday evenings to our weekly opening times as well as the Friday, Saturday and Sundays due to popular demand.

“We do have a few new beers on the horizon. Without giving too much away, one of our new beers will draw upon the nostalgic flavours of the old-fashioned sweet shop.

“What we can say is that our ‘stealth beer project’ is our experimental line at the brewery.

“Every week we are putting up small batch brews to see what works and what we might develop into future releases.”

Forthcoming events include a Halloween weekend on October 30 and 31 with a themed beer and food offering with prizes for the best fancy dressed customer.

There is a big Christmas weekend on December 11 with Christmas markets, festive food and beers plus an appearance in his grotto of Santa Claus.

But not everyone is full of cheer for the new arrangements and the brewery had to overcome residents’ objections plus concerns of the fire service and environmental health before the licence was granted.

Conditions attached include all customers leaving the site by 11.30pm, outside food and drink restricted to 8pm and only in the area next to the south western side of the building.

All windows inside and out must be kept closed when entertainment is being provided and ‘periodic noise monitoring’ around the boundary of the site must take place and the volume of entertainment reduced if noise is audible.

Speaking to represent Greenfield residents who were objecting to the plans, Gary Brophy said: “We aren’t against the business and developing the business. But we have got concerns.”

He said the proposed access point to the footpath along the river was an ‘accident waiting to happen’.

James Uttley

“We don’t want people being forced onto Knoll Close and then the steps at the bottom of Knoll Close being basically a public toilet for people coming out of the brewery.” However, Steven James, the director of Donkeystone Brewing company, said: “Over the past four years myself and my team have worked tirelessly to get ourselves to where we are now despite the devastating hurdles we faced during the Covid-19 pandemic and feel we are now an embedded part of the fabric of the local area.

“Our tap room has always had a very different feel from a normal pub and has offered a haven for families and dog walkers to enjoy without feeling intimidated.”

Mr James told councillors they would build a ‘secure fence’ along the boundary line and the bridge to prevent customers being able to access Knoll Close, and on the southern boundary with Tesco.

Mr James added: “Obviously we understand neighbours’ concerns and we’re not here to become enemies with anyone. We want them to become our customers and support what we’re creating and to enjoy a drink with us.

“So by all means let’s try and work together to try and resolve the footpath issues.

“We just want to be able to carry on with what we’re doing as a brewery.”

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