Brewery plans for Leyland

Staff from The Withy Arms, Leyland, prepare for the German Beer Festival
Staff from The Withy Arms, Leyland, prepare for the German Beer Festival
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  • Plans for a brewery at the Withy Arms will be handed to council this week
  • If approved, there will be a viewing gallery for customers
  • Bosses investing £100,000 in the area

Leyland is set to get its very own brewery thanks to a £100,000 investment in the town.

Bosses at the Withy Arms in Worden Lane will this week submit plans to build a micro-brewery next to the popular pub.

Owner Lee Forshaw has been working with South Ribble Council on the ambitious scheme, which will see the brewery built on the site of the old coach house and stables in Leyland’s conservation area.

“The council wanted us to make sure it was in-keeping with the area,” he said.

“So there will be replica stable doors and barn doors, and we’re re-using the cobbles too.

“I think it will be really good for Leyland – it will be like a tourist attraction.

“We’re hoping to be able to open it up to the public at some stage for tours, so I think it will definitely bring people to the area.

“And customers will be able to look into the brewery from our raised seating area at the back of the pub.

“It will be single storey but will have plenty of windows so people can look down into it and see the beers being made.”

Lee, who also runs the Withy Arms and School Lane Club in Bamber Bridge, says that the popularity of the mini beer festivals he’s staged in Leyland has encouraged him to make the huge investment.

“Real ales and small breweries are really popular at the moment,” he said.

“But there isn’t anything like this in Leyland yet.

“Some small breweries do struggle, but the beauty of this is that we’ve already got three guaranteed customers – the two Withy Arms pubs and the School Lane Club.

“We’ll be keeping our beers in-house, so it will be unique for our customers – and they can even watch it being made, which I think people will really like.

“It will be a challenge, but I think it will pay off.”

The move, if given the go-ahead by council planners, will create five new jobs, and Lee is working with a specialist brewer to come up with four to five brews.

The land earmarked for the build is currently used as a storage yard, and can be accessed through the old coach house archway off Worden Lane.

The land also backs on to houses from Church Road, and Lee believes the residents will welcome the project.

“The Withy Arms has really revitalised this end of town,” he said.

“There used to be a lot of trouble here, but it’s got a really good reputation since we opened at the end of 2013.

“It will be a much better use of the land.”

It is hoped the brewery, to be called the Ribble Brewery, will be open by next Easter.

Lee said staff are ‘really excited’ by the proposals, and they’re now gearing up for the Leyland pub’s next festival.

A German-themed Beer and Sausage Festival will be held from this Friday to Monday, to celebrate the bank holiday weekend, with a barbecue and outdoor cask ale bar.