A new Darlington real ale brewery has been launched, with the support of leading northern accountants and business advisers Garbutt & Elliott.

A new Darlington real ale brewery has been launched, with the support of leading northern accountants and business advisers Garbutt & Elliott.

The School House Brewery, based on the Cleveland Industrial Estate , Darlington, is run by Graham Gannaway and is already selling beers to pubs, clubs and restaurants across the Tees Valley.

He explained: “Having worked at senior level for a major retail company and then as CEO for a UK charity, I felt that I was ready to face the ultimate business challenge of running my own business.

“As any entrepreneur will tell you ‘there’s real thrill to working without a safety net’. The difficult decision for me was not should I run my own business, but what business? My epiphany moment came in the shower, when I decided that a brewery would be the perfect challenge.

“Once I had spoken to my family and got their support, the next 18 months were given over to a process of planning, training and research before I was ready to start brewing commercially.

“From a standing start, I’m now regularly selling beers to pubs, clubs and restaurants across the Tees Valley and I’m currently in negotiation with a national pub chain and sports arena to supply their bars,” said Mr Gannaway.

A love of beer provided the link with Garbutt & Elliott.

Mr Gannaway explained: “I had just been let down by an online accountancy firm when I was introduced to Craig Snaith of G&E at a beer festival. That chance meeting was quickly followed by a visit to my brewery by Craig and his Garbutt & Elliott colleague Matthew Grant.

“I felt that they understood business, my vision for the future but more importantly they didn’t try and sell me a service that I didn’t need. I found that refreshing.

“So far G&E have completed my annual accounts and are currently in the process of setting up new nominal codes and posting adjustments that will facilitate the completion of next year’s return.

“Craig and Matthew have done exactly what they said they would do, they have made themselves available to me and are genuinely helping to grow my business,” he added.

Matthew Grant, a director at Garbutt & Elliott and a member of CAMRA in York, and a respected accountant, said: “It is an absolute pleasure helping Graham. He is enthusiastic courageous and passionate – and he loves his beer. I think that’s the perfect combination of characteristics to make a great brewer”.