The Cheshire Brewhouse is an artisan microbrewery, based in Congleton, Cheshire. The brewery began life with a 5BBL (1440 pints per brew) capacity. This was recently increased to 10BBL (2880 pints per brew) doubling production capabilities.
Shane Swindells is the driving force behind the scenes. Shane is a multi-skilled engineer with a real passion for quality ales. Shane is a great believer in local products and is passionate about supporting local business, rather than the multinationals. The Cheshire Brewhouse strives wherever possible to use British products and suppliers when making our beers.
The Cheshire Brewhouse is slightly different than most new start up microbreweries. We are truly dedicated and focused on attention to detail. We have gone that one step further to hand craft the best British cask ale we can possibly make.
Shane used his 20+ years experience in engineering food manufacturing and brewing to build the original brewery and the more recent expansions himself. The brewery equipment is bespoke, and definitely not off the peg. The brewery features a few pieces of specialist equipment you won't find elsewhere, which we hope you agree, help our beer stand out from the crowd.
The idea of starting the Cheshire Brewhouse was planted back in the sands of time. Shane our head brewer has been around beer, in one way or another, for most of his natural life. He grew up the son of a publican, where cask conditioned beer was a daily product enjoyed by the many thousands of customers that crossed the thresholds of the Cheshire pubs he grew up in.
In the late 1980’s, Shane dabbled with brewing, making country wines and boots beer kits, for a couple of years, but as enjoyable quality drinks, they just didn’t cut it. Over time the interest in brewing waned, due to lack of available knowledge or equipment. However, he still had a great passion for quality beer. He spent many evenings over the next few years, enjoying a wide range of commercial cask beers from as many breweries as he could, Hunting out, the beer of all beers. He maintains that this was just for product research.
Shane’s passion for brewing the cask ales he loved, was reignited in 2007, shortly after landing a job as an engineer, with Molson Coors at their Burton Brewery. The smells, sights and processes at Molson Coors, North brewery, made him feel like an inquisitive child again. As a result, Shane spent hour-upon-hour learning as much as possible about brewing, from as many knowledgeable “beer” people as he could find.
Shane picked many eminent brewing and engineering brains to gain as much knowledge as he could. This was the beginning of his mission to make the best quality, most repeatable beer possible. When not working, he spent countless hours reading books and surfing the internet, on his quest to unlock the secrets of the mysterious world of brewing.
It is common knowledge that “brewer’s make wort and yeast makes beer”. Shane firmly believes in maintaining his own high-quality house-strain yeast to allow him to produce the highest quality cask conditioned ales possible.
Shane decided to truly understand the brewing process he must roll up his sleeves and brew beer. To be a yeast herder was to be his destiny, and he soon built a 150ltr stainless steel microbrewery in his garage at home.
We still have the 1bbl plant in place at the microbrewery and use it for test brews and limited edition bottled beers. These are sold from our online shop and to your local specialist bottled beer suppliers for these up and coming brews.
It was at this time Shane joined the Northern Craft Brewers, a group of very knowledgeable all grain brewers. They hold several gatherings a year, with the aim of sharing knowledge and helping each other brew better craft real ales and lagers.
Shane soon joined the NCB committee and later became involved in helping to organise events and competitions for the group of craft brewers.
Although brewing at home, was fascinating and enjoyable, it wasn’t enough. Shane wanted to share the beers he was producing with a wider audience. So, at the end of 2011, Shane decided it was about time to go commercial. Happy with his core beers, he wanted to share them with the general public. Therefore, he set about looking for suitable equipment to build a 5BBL microbrewery. Over many months a selection of tanks were purchased from various sources and stored at home, to the great delight of his family.
Once the vessels were in place it was time to look for a suitable place to install the tanks, and build “The Cheshire Brewhouse” we moved into our original home in early May 2012.
Much scribbling on paper followed and designs were bashed out, reviewed, refined, then finally decided on. Shane set about the Job of Building “The Cheshire Brewhouse”. We currently, have a 5 Brewers Barrel Brew length, which can be (and has been) very easily upgraded to 10BBL.
Shane continues his journey, developing the brewery through reinvestment and self-build expansion. He now has a bottling line and more FV (Fermenting Vessel) capacity to help meet demand. We sell online through an eCommerce website to retail and have many Wholesale customers, new and old.
Shane always has one eye on the future, but keeps tight control and holds domain over quality. He firmly believes that you’re only ever as good as your current produce.