The North East's Leading Distillers, Breweries and Wine Merchants | Living North

The North East's Leading Distillers, Breweries and Wine Merchants


Glasses of dark spirit with ice
Setting time aside to catch up over a few drinks is practically a birthright for us in the North East, so grab a few pals and explore some of our brilliant distillers, breweries and wine merchants

Allendale Brewery

Building on their reputation for finely wrought, delicately aromatic ales, Allendale have just relaunched the Anvil, an antipodean IPA formerly known as the Allendale Pale Ale – it’s full of grapefruit and mango tones.

Allen Mill, Allendale NE47 9EA
01434 618686


Having branched out into events and gigs at their Shiremoor base, Almasty are turning into a full-on North East institution after two years on the scene – their Jarl ale has been particularly influential in making their name.

Algernon Industrial Estate, Shiremoor NE27 0NB
0191 253 1639

Alnwick Rum

Think of rum and you’ll probably think of Caribbean islands, golden sands and the like. There’s an island closer to home which produces great rum, though: Holy Island, where Alnwick Rum turn out their four varieties: the original, the golden spiced version, the White Knight white rum and the Percy Warmer, blended with ginger wine.

St Aidan’s Winery, Holy Island TD15 2RX
01289 389230

Anarchy Brew Co

Anarchy will celebrate its fifth birthday in January, and its vibrant, assertively flavoured beers, ranging from IPAs to coffee-flavoured breakfast stouts, have won them a lot of friends in that time – not that we endorse drinking stout for breakfast. Then again, it is Christmas.

Whitehouse Farm Centre, Stannington NE61 6AW
01670 789755

Bear Claw Brewery

Do you find microbreweries to be just a little too big? Try this nanobrewery, the most northerly brewery in England and a proponent of brilliant unfiltered, unfined brews.

Meantime Workshops, North Greenwich Road, Berwick TD15 1RG
07919 276715

Big Lamp Brewery

The oldest microbrewery in the Noprth East is still going strong, 20 years on from its big move to Newburn having turned out its wares from Elswick among the West End's brewery big boys since 1982. Their range is impressively broad and well-wrought, but the golden, fruitily rich Prince Bishop Ale is first among equals. 

Grange Road, Newburn NE15 8NL
0191 267 1689

Black Paw Brewery

Head Brewer Phil Whitfield chucked in his job managing the local NHS Trust in 2010 to follow his dream of setting up his own brewery. Judging by his output, like the chocolatey Bishop’s Best bitter, he made the right choice.

Westgate Road, Bishop Auckland DL14 7AX
01388 602144

Brinkburn Street Brewery

This lot have really arrived in the last six months or so, bringing a burst of Pacific-coast sun to the North East in their hoppy creations. They’re firmly rooted in Byker though – see their Tino pale ale, named for Toon legend Tino Asprilla, for proof.

Hoults Yard, Byker NE6 2HL
0191 260 0688

Carruthers & Kent

Mo O’Toole and Claire Carruthers really, really know their wines and hand-pick each bottle they stock in their shop, which is based around the idea of an Italian ‘enoteca’, or wine library. There are tasting events, top nibbles and Mo and Claire can pair pretty much any food with a complementary wine. Sounds like our kind of library.

3a Elmfield Road, Gosforth NE3 4AY
0191 213 1818


Melding old-fashioned service and knowledge with a new-fashioned specialist bottle shop sensibility, Coppers has kept pace with the hipsterfied alcohol industry. Make sure to drop into their brand new on-site bar, Hop Secret, soon.

17 Princes Road, Gosforth NE3 5TT
0191 217 0043

Durham Distillery

This small-batch distillery is the first to operate (legally) in Durham since the days of Henry VIII. Owner Jon Chadwick and Chief Distiller Jess Tomlinson have both been recognised by the Gin Guild, so they know what they’re doing.

Riverside Industrial Estate, Langley Park, Durham DH7 9TT
07809 238481

Firebrick Brewery

At Firebrick Brewery they’re constantly looking for ways to commemorate important cultural totems of the North, from the Stella Spark, which marks our role in bringing electric light to the world, to Newcastle United’s legendary strikers with their fizzy black lager Tyne Nine.

Blaydon Business Centre, Cowen Road, Blaydon NE21 5TW
0191 447 6543

Hexhamshire Brewery

Proudly trumpeting themselves as Northumberland’s oldest brewery, Hexhamshire have been brewing for more than 20 years and their range of six regular brews covers pretty much every eventuality. The smooth, strong Whapweasel bitter is especially good.

Dipton Mill Road, Hexham NE46 1YA
01434 606577

High House Farm Brewery

It’s all very homely here – English ingredients are used to create beers named after the farm’s animals, collies and family members. Their Nel’s Best has been a finalist at the Champion Beer of Britain Awards.

Matfen NE20 0RG
01661 886192

Kitty’s Homemade Ginger Wine

Being a designated driver needn’t mean supping at glass after tedious glass of cranberry juice – this peppery, citrusy, spicy, alcohol-free ginger wine is Christmas incarnate.

195 Gladstone Street, Blyth NE24 1HY
07980 656792

The Lakes Distillery

The gin, vodka and whisky they produce here is as potent a symbol of the region as Beatrix Potter, craggy fells and over-enthusiastic dads who look like they’re about to climb the Matterhorn. the base water comes from the River Derwent and the gin is flavoured with Lakes-native botanicals like bilberry, heather and meadowsweet.

Setmurthy, near Bassenthwaite Lake, Cumbria CA13 9SJ
01768 788850

Lindisfarne Mead

This is one of the few drinks to have successfully resisted the urge to give itself a funky, backwards-baseball-cap reinvention, to its credit. It’s still the same delicious nectar it’s always been.

St Aidan’s Winery, Holy Island TD15 2RX
01289 389230

Mordue Brewery

The Workie Ticket has been a staple in bars around the North East for a few years now, and small wonder: Mordue know exactly what they’re doing, especially with nutty, darker ales.

Narvik Way, North Shields NE29 7XJ
0191 296 1879

Out There

This tiny brewery works in light, often floral tones and has a cosmic outlook – they’ve a beer named after Laika, the first dog in space. Their pump clips are things of minimalist beauty too.

Unit 4, Foundry Lane, Ouseburn NE6 1LH
07946 579534

The Pip Stop

Now established as one of the best-stocked wine shops in the region – and, with its racy 50s garage styling, one of the best-looking too – Pip Stop’s experts will help you refill your cellar, though sadly they don’t have a wine pump modelled on a petrol pump shooting out thousands of gallons a minute. Yet.

58 Lanchester Road, Maiden Law DH7 0QS
01207 523555

Poetic License

Having taken the distillery scene by storm in the last 12 months, Poetic License have added to their raft of bevs – Graceful Vodka, mid-1800s-style Old Tom Gin, and the award-winning Northern Dry Gin – with their juniper, strawberry and cream Picnic Gin, all brewed in Gracie, their 500l copper still.

Roker Terrace, Sunderland SR6 9ND
0191 510 3564

Richard Granger Wines

There’s an astounding amount of expertise here: 46 years after they opened, and with more than 80 years’ experience between leaders Alastair Stewart and Mark Rennie, Richard Granger Wines are still right at the top of their game.

West Jesmond Metro Station, Lyndhurst Avenue, Jesmond NE2 3HH
0191 281 5000

Sonnet 43

Named for Coxhoe poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s ‘How do I love thee…’ poem, Sonnet 43 have had a very good year. Their I Shall But Love toasted coconut mocha porter is like eating a Bounty bar, but with coffee-ish darkness thrown in. And alcohol, obviously.

Durham Road, Coxhoe DH6 4HX
0191 377 3039

Three Kings Brewery

Masters of both cask ales and bottle-conditioned beers, Three Kings’ paper-wrapped bottles are as aesthetically alluring as they are expertly brewed. Our pick is the Tyneside Tommy best bitter.

14 Prospect Terrace, North Shields NE30 1DX
07580 004565

Tyne Bank Brewery

Five years into their life, Tyne Bank have established themselves as regional brewing heavyweights. Having just shifted into a new site around the corner from their old place on the Ouseburn quayside, they’re adding live music and events to their repertoire too.

375 Walker Road, Byker NE6 2AB
0191 265 2828

Wylam Brewery

The breakout success of the North East brew scene, Wylam’s new drinks – the Hickey the Rake limonata, for instance – are easily as good as ubiquitous classics like Gold Tankard. Their new digs in Exhibition Park is a gig venue too, welcoming the likes of DJ Yoda, Michael Kiwanuka and, on one memorable occasion, a man who played a tiny piano with his bum.

Palace of Arts, Newcastle NE2 4PZ
0191 650 0651

Published in: November 2016

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