Established in 1994 the Darwin Brewery has grown steadily to become one of the most respected micro-breweries in the north of England. Awards like ‘CAMRA North East beer of the Year 2003/4’, ‘2004 Asda Beer Festival’ award and the ‘2005/6 Tesco Beer Challenge’ were perfect ways to celebrate a decade in Business.
Darwin’s first beers were produced on a very small 18 gallon system based at Brewlab at the University of Sunderland. Three years later the brewery expanded to Crook, County Durham with the acquisition of the Hodge’s Brewery and brewed there until 2002 when two factors resulted in a move back to Sunderland.
Firstly continued growth and popularity of the beers meant space was a problem at the Crook plant with production stretched almost to capacity. Secondly, and perhaps even more important was that the recent closure of the Vaux brewery had left the city without a brewery for the first time in over one hundred years.
With both managers and staff having close links to the city the time seemed right to move back to Sunderland, this time with the purchase of Butterknowle’s award winning 12 barrel plant. Darwin pride themselves on the wide range and quality of their beers. This has only been possible thanks to the brewery having access to it’s original 18 gallon test plant.
The Darwin Brewery has always supported training courses at Brewlab with students gaining placement and development experience in brewing, marketing and sales. Today after further developments of Brewlab to a new dedicated location Darwin has moved to make best use of the advanced facilities available at West Quay Court in Sunderland.
Regular and unique beers are produced and our recently appointed brewer, Victoria Thomson, is ably assisted by Brewlab staff and expert resources. Our beers are produced to a high quality specification and are increasingly diverse including lagers, continental styles and historic creations.