BLACK FOREST STOUT is back and you have the 1st bite of the cherry

Black Forest Stout is back

It's back and it's even better. We have joined forces with Kelsey at the brilliant Kacao Chocolaterie based in Richmond, North Yorkshire to help us perfect our Black Forest Stout.

With the same big Morello Cherry flavour as before we have now upped the opulence level by infusing Kacao's 80.1% Kumabo Cocoa Chocolate in this new, bigger, bolder beer.

Not in the shops until March but for the next 3 weeks we are offering you a 1st bite of the cherry!

pre-order now

Eat Drink Festival

Invite to eat drink festival

McColl's Brewery is delighted to invite you all to the Eat Drink Festival at Hoults Yard

Three Festivals. Two Days. One Venue.

Appetite Zone - over 20 of our regions finest food specialists offering a great taste of the region.

Cheers Zone - the regions premium cask and bottled ale distilleries assembled for your delight.

Spirit Zone - the very best of our Northern heritage with over 80 gins on our bar and 10 distilleries offering small batch premium gin tasting and sampling.


Tickets are available from https://www.eatdrinkfest.co.uk/buy-tickets




McColl's Bottles

We're launching a competition up to the end of July 2017.

Take a picture of yourself enjoying either a bottle or a pulled pint of McColl's Brewery range of beers, post it on social media with the hashtag #BeerSelfie and tag @McCollsBrewery in the picture to be in with a chance of winning a case of our beers!

It's as simple as that.

You can enter as many times as you like, simply Point Click #Post

We look forward to seeing all of your pics in our social media feeds.


Terms and Conditions

Closing date for entries is Monday 31st of July.

Winning entries will be displayed on our social media channels.

You can enter as many times as you like and all entries should include the #BeerSelfie and tag McColl's Brewery. 

#BeerSelfie competition is open to all those aged over 18 and residents of the UK, except employees of the companies or organisatons with whom the competition or offer is being run, anyone otherwise connected with the organisation or judging of the competition.

All entries must be received by Monday 31st of July 2017. 

Four winners will be chosen from all qualifying entries. Judges decision is final!

This prize is not exchangeable and cannot be redeemed for cash or any other form of compensation. The prize is non-transferable.

The names of the winners may be published in publicity surrounding the competition. 

Winners may be asked to take part in promotional activity and McColl's Brewery reserves the right to make use of the names of the winners in publicity and promotion. 

By entering this competition you agree to the terms and conditions above.

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Network.


McColl's Brewery - Thank You

With our first brew done and fermenting away, we thought we’d take the time to put down in writing all the people and companies who have helped us reach this point in the breweries life. It’s pretty much been 2 years bang on since this whole thing started to gather speed, and although a little daunting at times, we have learnt so much and met some brilliant people. We thank you all!

Here goes, in chronological order.

Thank you, South Durham Enterprise Agency, Marzia Aloisio in particular for asking all the right questions, flagging up the pitfalls and pointing out the essential pre-planning stages. This genuinely focused the mind and helped kickstart a whole lot of serious thinking.

Thank you to everybody who pledged on our initial crowdfunder project. This is where it all started to gather pace and become real. Your belief and support for not only the project but the potential of the brewery in the future gave us the confidence to kick on.

A massive part of making the crowdfunder project work was the time and effort put in by Michelle Eaves and Tom Kidd. Michelle with her ‘fab, yes, brill, defo’ attitude and Tom with his brilliant design capabilities. You both brought a much-needed air of professionalism to early proceedings. Thank you.

Thank you, Andrew Tingle of Total Tax Solutions. As everything became more serious your time and advice on all matters money was invaluable, it’s fair to say we both like a spreadsheet.

To Vince Rodgers at Five Lamps, thank you for all the questions and queries and ultimately helping us secure a Start Up loan.

And a massive thank you to Michael and Audrey Stephenson. Funding a start-up business is probably the trickiest and biggest box to tick, we are blessed to have you on side, as you have allowed us to just get on with it whilst providing the support and funds to achieve our dreams.

So the build began, questions appeared daily and Brian Yorston (Nationally renowned brewer non-the-less) was often the point of contact. We are extremely grateful for your time and input to date, thank you.

To all the contractors who have worked on installing the brewery. ACC Flooring, Steam Direct, TEP Machinery, Brewing Vessels, Sam at Scotia Welding, Mark Winters Electricals, Nige Hodgson, Ushers Refrigeration, Martin Kneller, S&A Fabrications. Thank you!

A big thank also goes to all the lads at Proportion Marketing, you have put up with my knit picking, tweaks, emails and more. Looking class though!

We look forward to working with you all again in the future.


Danny and Gemma

Our Brand

Brand Boards

We are so chuffed with our brand artwork that I thought I’d quickly jot down where it came from, the who’s and the how’s.

After a few shit doodles of my own (as you do, pretending you can be a designer) I knew I had to genuinely put some thought into a brand that not just me, but the family and future staff would be happy and proud to stand next to. Personally, this takes a lot of bloody time. You think you know what you want, you then kind of know what you want, now try getting that out of your head, have it put in front of you and be happy with it and then repeat. It takes a lot of bloody time.

Right from the start I wanted something precise but not lifeless, creative but not too fussy, in a big nutshell something that was natural but controlled, geometric but not constrained to a style, where the Arts meet the Sciences (you know that easy to define point), a continuum that didn’t alienate or stereotype potential customers but which equally stood for our philosophies. Try and squeeze that out of your head, it hurts.

But with the help of some very talented people we were on our way. Both Michelle Eaves and Tom Kidd played a massive role in getting our thoughts down on paper, and via a brilliant crowdfunding project (thank you all again) where our initial ideas had a run out, the general consensus was that we needed more personality and colour but that the clean brand device worked. (And…. it doesn’t want to look anything like McColl’s the newsagents or the Metro – cheers Bro!)

Brand BoardsColour Close UpDevice Close Up

So we were after colour but not Google/corporate colour, beautiful shades, something that could easily evolve and incorporate a philosophy of things we haven’t even thought of. This is where the whole spectrum of colours began to emerge, taking inspiration from the artists Powel Nolbert (cheers Tom for introducing us to his work) and Victor Vasarely, but also from the Teesdale landscape we live in.

NolbertTeesdale Sunset

Our brief then began to develop but also the practicalities of implementing our brand became more prominent. So we enlisted the services of a brilliant local marketing company, Proportion Marketing, who very quickly squeezed even more out of my little head and began to develop the concept further.

McColl's BrandingMcColl's BrandingMcColl's BrandingMcColl's Brewery Logo

Ultimately, we wanted to illustrate our love of the Arts and Sciences, the creativity of brewing, the variability of the seasons but our control of the variables, whilst also not wanting to alienate anyone (or as few as possible) and equally not be hemmed in to a style/era of beer. Maybe we are a tad vague but as long as we don’t look fluffy or lack continuity across the brand we want to be all encompassing, inclusive and have the ability to shift the brand in the future. Why not?

….And then finally after a few refinements (me being the absolute knit picking git that I am), boom! the brewery’s identity was born. We think we achieved what we held in our heads, we hope you like it.

So you want to set up a brewery?

McColls Brewery - So you want to start a brewery

From first thoughts through to the first brew, there are many obstacles on the road to launching a brewery. Here is the route McColl’s Brewery has taken to date, five months shy of its launch.

The thought of owning my own brewery crept in to my head half a decade ago. And there it stayed, leaving an indelible mark. It soon began to develop, often over a beer, and often in a dreamy, idyllic mindset of hops, brand design and happy punters supping our wares.

At this point, the single most important decision I made was to secure a position within an established commercial brewery. Still, my mind ran wild with romantic images of brewing, but I quickly identified my own ‘style’ of how I’d like a brewery to operate. I would also spend time investigating every nuance of the industry, thinking about the more prosaic do’s and don’ts of day-to-day brewery life. Often avenues would prove to be fruitless or ‘not for me’, but many were enlightening. A bigger picture began to emerge. I could do this.

If you’re considering setting up your own brewery, I’d highly recommend this approach as the ‘first must’. It gave me time to think, gain experience, make mistakes – at someone else’s expense – and determine whether I could actually hack it. My advice to others keen on setting up their own brewery? Make sure you stick your nose into every aspect of brewery life.

Yes, the latest hop releases and fermentation profiles, but everything else too. I’m talking hygienic floor and wall coverings; van specs; vessels inside and out; water supply; and quality assurance measures, to name but a few. Plus, delve into all the costs, pricing and legalities you can encounter – and that’s before you even try to sell your product.

If you’re still keen, as I was, and now think that “I can do this better and more profitable”, well, it begins to get very real. At this point, it was time to do my fair share of soul searching. Many long discussions with the other half followed, generally centring around money, family life and the sacrifices ahead of us. At the end of it though, I was still invested in the idea. It was time to put together a comprehensive business plan.

This process helped focus my mind, shifting it from ‘just brewing’ to focusing on the business as a whole. And, although ultimately it would prove useful in securing finance, it also helped in those quiet moments to reassure myself that I was doing it right. The numbers do stack up. There is a market for the product. And I do know what I’m doing. It’s at this point you must start to fully commit or equally (and unashamedly) step back from the brink.

It’s important to note the time and effort I devoted to reining in my expectations – not an easy task and not to be confused with limiting your aspirations – as it directly impacted on certain decisions I had to make. What was the market? What should we actually produce? What styles, ABVs, distribution and dispense methods should we go for? How much capital will we realistically secure? The concept now needed to work. Satisfying those early heady thoughts was no longer enough.

These questions will all affect what brewhouse, fermentation equipment and racking requirements you'll need; the kind of premises, size and location you are after; how many staff you need; and the portion of money you should partition off to sales and marketing. That business plan now starts to look daunting if not reassuringly professional.

So, from that point onwards, it’s been nigh on two years of telephone calls, emails, meetings, reprints, refinements, and research, not to mention, brick walls, cockups, frustrations, rethinks and a bit more soul searching. A key aspect in this interim period of flux – from nothing to actual brewery owner – was the decision to run a small but highly significant crowdfunder project.

The subsequent success of the project allowed us to produce trial batches of our products at Brewlab in Sunderland, test our beers out at two well-attended tasting evenings and to say to people that “this is really happening”, the secret is out, time to stand up and be counted.

This solidified the whole thing and now with a launch date set – or launch month to be less precise – this two year process has proven its worth in limiting costly mistakes, reassessing essentials with ideals, improving the day-to-day functionality of the brewery and, ultimately, refining how we can produce the best quality product around.

With five months to go until duty returns are filed, everything has started to fall into place, pick up pace and generally become more real. There are staff contracts; premises lease terms; interest rates; licenses; permissions; and the potential impact of Brexit on raw material prices to contend with.

It’s certainly daunting, but having in place a solid business plan – with contingencies of course –has eased our worries. If you’ve done the maths and your research, then have faith in your core figures, your product and your core motivation. You can certainly be flexible if costs or timings shift, you just have to anticipate these things. It seems to be a fine balance between enjoying the experience, designing and brewing the beers and fulfilling the many obligations on a day-to-day basis just to make it work, to ultimately pay the bills.

With more trial brews to be conducted, staff training courses attended, brand artwork and marketing realised, customers engaged with and an entire brewery to kit out, the plan is to stick to the plan - this will bring our dream into the physical world. In summary, take your time, think and then rethink things through.

If you publish a business plan, financial projections or set yourself deadlines that are never looked at again and reassessed, then you are either a business guru or naively walking into a slow and painful hard slog. Retain your dream, but be willing to shift your expectations, spend a little more time on getting things right or readjust your route to achieving your ambitions. As a fan of goals and deadlines I find it difficult but necessary to remember I hope to be doing this for the rest of my life. A slight delay in getting it right is not a bad thing.

Daniel McColl is owner, head brewer and general dogsbody at the recently formed McColl’s Brewery (launching across the North East of England in Spring 2017) mccollsbrewery.co.uk. Daniel worked as a research assistant on numerous research projects at Teesside University before becoming head brewer at a 32 hL brewery in Cumbria.


A massive thank you!


To everyone who showed their support and pledged during our crowdfunder project back in May. We are nearly there and we sincerely thank you for believing in something that was merely metaphysical at that point. Without the project and without your support we wouldn’t be where we are right now. The brewery is now well and truly in the physical world, if not still a while short of actually producing beer. You made the whole thing feel real, the secret was out and the feedback and support you all provided, both positive and critical was taken on board and has helped develop the beers and brand. We look forward to keeping you all updated of our progress, launch and beyond. Thank you once again. Cheers.

Nindy and Yeshna | Alan and Bev | Craig and Erin | Gill and Ian | Andy Newton | Dom Blades | Weez and Andy | Val and Alan | Paul and Clare | Carolyn and John | Kirsty and Nick | Ray and Pauline | Andrew and Joanne | Mother and Father | Merriel and Michael | Darren Mark Davison | Dan and Michelle | Jonny and Jade | Kev, Gaz and Marshy | Andrew Burnip | Ailsa and Oz | Benjamin Franks | Jacqui and Graham | Alan Rowan | Gary Lithgo | Louise Gaukroger | Jon Graham | Andrew Sankey | Matthew Falcus | Lee Gilbertson | Robin Bradbury | Charlie Medcalf | Martin McGough | Michael McGough | Stephen, Kathryn and Aunty Lorraine | David Bowes | Ben Kerry | Charlotte Lisa Fearn | Neil Marshall | Aunty Teresa and Uncle Oz


The Brewers Journal - Brewers Lectures

The Brewers Lectures

Ollie didn’t need an excuse to hop on a train, whizz down to London, drink plenty of beer and generally have a crackin’ time. But include an afternoon of inspirational talks relevant to the ever changing craft beer sector and he’s there. The lectures included talks from legendary Head Brewer of Fullers, John Keeling, the ever relevant blogger and photographer Mathew Curtis and all round drinks business analyst Csaba Babak, amongst many other notable individuals. Check out the lectures online at http://www.brewersjournal.info/lectures/

The Beer Academy

The Beer Academy

Danny and Ollie attended and passed The Beer Academies Foundation Course. With aspirations of becoming sommeliers you have to start somewhere and this course was a brilliant start. With plenty of beer tasting and food pairing it ticked all the boxes. Next step the Advanced Course in the new year.