Inside the new brewery bar coming to a rural Chorley farm thanks to two brothers-in-law at Rivington Brewing Co

An historic farm and a modern independent brewery are taking their ale venture one step further through a new bar.

By Tom Earnshaw, Reporter
Friday, 19th July 2019, 11:59 am
Updated Friday, 19th July 2019, 12:59 pm
Ben Stubbs and Mike Richardson with the building that will house the Rivington Brewing Co bar at Home Farm in Anderton (JPIMedia)
Ben Stubbs and Mike Richardson with the building that will house the Rivington Brewing Co bar at Home Farm in Anderton (JPIMedia)

Home Farm in Anderton, rural Chorley, is set to convert one of its external stables in to a new brewery bar as part of its collaboration with Rivington Brewing Co.

The bar – or tap room as it will be known – will feature around 10 beer keg lines selling the brewery's beer, which is produced directly at the farm off Horrobin Lane.

Ben Stubbs co-founded Rivington Brewing Co with his brother-in-law Mike Richardson in 2014.

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“We’ve been going just short of five years now,” explained Ben.

“We started experimenting with home brewing and we got some good feedback, so we took the jump to go professional and starting selling in the local area, getting a little bigger bit by bit. Now we’re pretty much at maximum capacity.”

Rivington Brewing Co hopes to bring seating for 20 to 30 people, plus standing room for a further 20 to 30.

Ben Stubbs and Mike Richardson with the building that will house the Rivington Brewing Co bar at Home Farm in Anderton (JPIMedia)

33-year-old Ben added: “There’s quite a few places running these tap rooms in the UK but it’s the norm in the United States.

“We’re still coming to terms with drinking in the breweries.

"There’s about 12 per cent of breweries with bars while it’s at around 50 per cent in the USA.

“So I think it’s the way forward, particularly in the craft scene.

Ben Stubbs of Rivington Brewing Co (JPIMedia)

"It’s the way to drive sustainability in the market. Without these direct sales it’s hard to run a long-term business.”

The brewery has a number of permanent lines in Lancashire, including at Preston’s Plug & Taps, but all other orders are on a weekly “rotating line”.

Regarding selling to pubs, Ben said you can expect “rock bottom prices”, with a need to produce three to five litre batches to make between £5 and £10 per cask.

Ben Stubbs and Mike Richardson in the barn that will be converted (JPIMedia)

With the new tap room, plans are also afoot to create an outdoor seating area for up to 30 people, predominantly for summer use.

“Easter to September will be a busy time for us, but what we don’t know is what will happen in November when it’s raining sideways," explained Ben.

“So we’re doing this at the right time to see what’s going to be right in the future.

“It’s a small barn to start with; if it is really popular we have the space to expand as we like.”

Chorley Council granted planning permission for the bar in late June.

The bar will open from 4pm to 9pm on Fridays and 1pm to 9pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Ben in the brewery at Home Farm (JPIMedia)

An opening time or around October is also on the cards.

Ben said: “Construction on the brewery bar starts at the end of August.

"The optimist in me says we should be open in September but my brother-in-law reckons October, so I’m sure it’ll be somewhere in the middle.”

Three part-time jobs are expected to be created as a result of the project.

Plans are also afoot to expand the brewery itself as part of wider plans to support the farm, which itself is diversifying to trade in the beef market.

Ben said: “The brew house will be four times the size with five times as much beer being produced.

“It’s also to support the long-term viability of the farm.

“Working in dairy is often loss-leading or breaking even at best, where you work seven days a week, 365 days a year.

“It’s a tough business just like brewing, so they’ll hopefully help each other."

Home farm is rented from United Utilities as a working dairy farm with approximately 170 dairy cattle.

The farm has also diversified through horse livery, together with caravan and camping.

Ben Stubbs (JPIMedia)