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One for the road as brewery calls time

A NEW brew with a real kick has been created by a Wakefield brewery as a leaving present for for all his loyal customers. Maureen James and her husband David, 56, are leaving the Fernandes Brewery Tap pub, micro brewery and wine and homebrew supplies shop, M&D, they have built up over the past eight years, to start another smaller brewery in Filey. And the Kirkgate brewers have created Poynton's Pride beer as a parting gift, named after Wakefield rugby league legend Harold Poynton. Mr Poynton, a former Yorkshire and Great Britain test player, will use Sunday's Wildcats' game against Huddersfield Giants to join regulars at Femandes Brewery Tap to launch the new beer.

The pub, brewery and shop have been taken over by Ossett Brewery, Healey Road, which has bought everything lock, stock and all the brewing barrels. They will take over officially on Monday, July 30.

Joint owner Mrs James said: "We are sad to be leaving, but after eight years we feel the time is right. My husband brews three times a week-and I work three full shifts in the pub each week and it's getting a little bit too much. But we still intend to carry on brewing. “Although it's a wrench to leave what we have created here, it’s also also exciting to be starting a new venture. The small brewery in Filey will be called the Five Leys, which is an old  name for Filey and which means a clearing of a meadow or a forest"

Mr and Mrs James started their brewing business in Wakefield in 1993. The premises were originally a malt store built in 1822 by Luis Fernandes, who also owned the Fernandes Brewery in Doncaster Road. Mrs James said: “Ever since we started brewing we have become well known for creating our own unique beers, named after some of the pubs in Wakefield that have closed down and also after things associated with pubs. These include Wakefield Pride, Double Six, Empress of India and Shakespeare. We will miss mixing with our customers and making beers for Wakefield.

The couple will hold a leaving party for customers on Sunday, July 29, with entertainment at the pub on Avison Yard, Kirkgate.


WAKEFIELD GUARDIAN, Thursday 2 August 2007

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Award -winning owners pull final pint

One of Wakefield's best loved pubs - the Fernandes Brewery Tap - has changed hands. The award-winning hostelry and brewery at Avison Yard became Ossett Brewery's 10th public house on July 30. But landlords for the past eight years, Maureen and David James aren't giving up brewing just yet as they are moving on to a new venture in Filey - Five Leys Brewery.

And despite fears that they are are closing their home brewery business, Mrs James wants to assure customers that it is merely moving to new premises at 4 Vicarage Street. As a goodbye to their regulars, the duo hosted a farewell celebration on Sunday.

Mrs James said: "It really was so hard to let go as we built the business up. It's been like handing a child over that you've seen grow up from birthand who then leaves home. It's heart-wrenching. I know it sounds dramatic but  it really is. We first arrived in 1993 and opened the home brew shop, then it progressed from there - it's such a big building we wanted other things to do and in 1999 we opened the Brewery Tap which went from strength to strength."

Jamie Lawson, managing director of the Ossett Brewing Company Limited, said: "The fernandes Brewery Tap has been acquired by Ossett Brewing Company. Fernandes will be the 10th pub to become part of the Ossett family. Fans of the pub will be pleased to hear there are no plans to make any changes to the pub on the top floor, great as it is! However, watch out for our plans for the ground floor that used to house the home brew shop.

Fernandes beer fans don't despair; there are no plans to stop brewing at the Fernandes site either. Brewing will continue as normal and Fernandes beers will be made available to other Ossett pubs. David James will be acting as consultant at the brewery to ensure a smooth transition over to the new brewer."