Visitor centre bid by Holden's Brewery
Holden's Brewery has revealed plans to open a visitor centre and launch tours as part of an ongoing £250,000 expansion of the site.
The firm announced the plan as work to extend the existing brewery and boost production at the site, in George Street, Woodsetton, started today.
Bosses say the visitor centre is in an early stage of development and no work will begin until the brewery extension has been completed.
They say the centre is likely to be a year or so away but are eager to get tours of the brewery up and running in the future. Managing director Jonathan Holden said: "We are a local company nearly 100 years old, which people are quite interested in.
"People like to see what goes on behind the walls of the brewery.
"The product is selling well and there is an interest to see how it is made, from start to finish."
An area has been allocated for the visitor centre, which would include informaton panels on the brewery's history and a meeting room. Tours would also be re-introduced after they were stopped three years ago for the start of the current programme of works.
The latest step of work begins today on an extension of the existing brewery to allow production to be stepped up to 75,000 pints per week.
Developments completed include a new bottle store, which is open to visitors, and offices for 10 members of staff. A professional artist was also commissioned to recreate a sign painted on the wall of the Park Inn.
The sign was a familiar sight to residents in the early part of the last century.
Bosses said with all the changes to the site they had wanted to create a clear link to the past, which is why they had commissioned the replica of the sign.
Director Abi Kemp said: "We have a picture of our great-grandmother Lucy standing outside the inn many years ago when the sign was in place.
"There have been a lot of changes to the site recently but we want to ensure a sense of tradition is kept.
"The replica of the sign is absolutely brilliant and is a very fitting way to start the last phase of the improvement works."
Mrs Kemp's great-grandmother Lucy was the driving force behind establishing the brewery.
She had married Edwin Holden in 1898 and her father persuaded them to take over the tenancy of a public house.
Mrs Kemp said the bottle store had already received some visitors and numbers are expected to increase as word of the attraction spreads.
The company is one of the oldest and best-known in the area and was founded in 1915.
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