Businesses in Kendal are taking part in #yourewelcomekendal, a campaign to promote all the fantastic cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars, producers and food retailers in the town.
We’ve been catching up with the people behind the businesses to find out why they love what they do.
Richard Husbands owns Bowness Bay Brewery and the Barrel House, at Castle Mills. Always a keen homebrewer Richard served as roads policing and armed response officer before starting the brewery in 2012.
“I have always been an enthusiastic home brewer and I tried all sorts of different things,” says Richard.
“I created a couple of recipes, which I really liked, one of which turned into Swan Blonde, which is the beer we’re probably most well known for now. It’s a fantastic thirst-quenching golden ale, which is enjoyed all over the Lake District and beyond. It’s especially good if you’re in need of a drink after a good walk in the fells.
“Swan Blonde is a combination of a very aromatic American hop combined with a really well kept English ale yeast; it’s a very successful combination. There are other hops in it, of course, but I couldn’t reveal them because it’s top secret!
“Our two most popular beers are definitely Fellwalker – in bottle, and Swan Blonde – in cask.
Our third best selling beer is actually Swan Free, which is low alcohol. The market for low alcohol beer is now growing so significantly that we’re trial brewing a number of others. The amount of people out there who don’t want to go out and get drunk is growing, especially in younger groups.
“To be a good brewer is about getting three things right; cleanliness, ingredients, and the process. You need to be rigorous and consistent in keeping the equipment and the casks clean, because any slight infection is extremely detrimental to the flavour of the beer and will also affect the head and the aroma. We work really hard to make sure we’re producing consistently delicious beer all the time and people certainly seem to appreciate it. I give a lot of credit to our head brewer Mike Meaney; over the last four years he and his team have really done a lot of work so we can produce beer of consistent quality day in, day out.
“We moved to our current location at Castle Mills in 2015. Since then we have invested and expanded on this site. We opened our own tap bar, The Barrel House, across the yard in 2019, which has been very successful for us. We put a lot of effort into making the Barrel House a welcoming and warm environment for people to socialise and enjoy all our beers. It’s a great stop off on the Kendal pub circuit, which just seems to be getting better and better all the time.”
“Castle Mills is a former industrial site that’s been repurposed to house lots of different types of businesses, from graphic designers to stonemasons, florists, artists and a yoga studio. It’s a really interesting corner of Kendal, with a lot to discover and we hope to develop the site still further into a destination for tourists and locals alike, holding events and festivals throughout the year.”
“Last year we converted one of our onsite industrial units into The Venue. The event space was built and eventually opened in late 2021 with its own bar and stage for live music. We’ve put a lot of work into creating a Scandi style attractive interior space and can cater for up to 150 people, so we’re hoping to tap into the wedding market this year.”
#yourewelcomekendal is being funded by the Government’s Welcome Back Fund. The Welcome Back Fund is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and HM Government as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. Find out more