Northamptonshire man turns home-brew hobby into beer business

Ed Matts, of Creaton Grange Ales
Ed Matts, of Creaton Grange Ales

A new microbrewery in Northamptonshire is stepping up production as the popularity of real ales continues to grow.

Creaton Grange Ales began last year as the by-product of Ed Matts hobby, and he is now producing three beers and supplying several outlets.

Despite many pubs struggling – reportedly 18 close each week across the country – the demand for real ale is growing, particularly among the rising number of micro-pubs.

And Ed, 33, is delighted with how his business has started. “When I was at university, my brother bought me a home brew kit and I realised I could create 40 pints for £7,” he recalled. “That seemed a no-brainer and my interest developed from there.”

His first beer from scratch, called Pheasant Tale, was made for his cousin’s wedding – and later his own – and it was so popular he was encouraged to set up the business.

“It’s hard work and tiring as I have to fit it in around my day job, my family and my weekend role as a Major in the Army Reserves,” added Ed, who is a senior business partner at the University of Leicester.

“I prefer lighter beers so that’s what I have focussed on and my degree in chemistry has helped me to adapt recipes until I’m satisfied.”

Ed comes from a farming family in Creaton and he hopes to use that background to eventually grow barley and hops, while a long-term aim would be to use water from a spring on their land.

He currently makes five barrels a week each of Pheasant Tale (3.8%), Four Sons (3.5%) and March Yard (4.2%) and by Christmas hopes to supply bottled versions too.