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Community and collaboration


Community and collaboration are at the heart of Northern Monk’s passion for craft beer said Brian Dickson, co-founder and technical director of the brewery in Leeds, UK.

Dickson said the Northern Monk name came from the tradition in the region of monks brewing to support their communities. 

Dickson and co-founder Russell Bisset chose the name ‘Northern Monk’ inspired by the regional tradition of monastic orders brewing beer to support their communities.

“We host as many community events as we can at our taproom and we try and work with local people and we pride ourselves that we try and give something back,” Dickson said.

Going green 

In terms of green practices, Dickson said: “We are working on it. We are not great at the moment.”

Like most brewers Northern Monk sends the spent grain to farmers, who are also now taking the hops and the yeast.

“We are looking at our water usage,” he said. “We use a lot of mains water to cool the steam. We are looking to improve that. We are looking to reduce our use of plastics. Instead of using plastic can holders we are looking at cardboard alternatives. There is a lot of work to do but we are trying to do it better.”

Working, living in the community

Working in the local Leeds community of Holbeck, Northern Monk has invested time in collaborating with local charities. The brewery is located in one of the most deprived areas of the north of England. The brewer is currently working with a charity supporting elderly people and are looking at supporting an  LGBT charity. They also try to hire people from the local area to work in the brewery.

Northern Monk’s Patrons Projects is part of that initiative to work within the local community. The programme was established to foster collaboration, creativity and community between artists, athletes and creatives across northern England. Each month, subscribers receive a Patrons Project delivery that contains seven beers. Each beer features limited edition packaging artwork, and information about the collaboration with local artists, musicians and photographers on the reverse of the peel-and-reveal label.

A bit of history

Northern Monk has had huge success since Dickson and Bisset started brewing with a £5,000 stake from Bisset’s grandmother and brewing in the basement of his parent’s home. Through financing they opened a brewery and tap room at Old Flax Store in 2014 and turned to crowdfunding to expand into a second much larger brewery in April 2017. Between both sites they can brew up to 18 brands of beers at a time.

Brian Dickson, co-founder and technical director , Northern Monk, Leeds, UK at Swafff! 2019 Chateau du Karreveld, Avenue de la Hoese 3, 1080 Brussels.

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