In the 19th Century Macclesfield boasted several sizeable commercial breweries with one of the biggest in the area being Stancliffe’s Sutton Brewery who boasted more than 40 pubs throughout Cheshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire. It closed in 1920 having been taken over by near neighbours Lonsdale & Adshead. Ninety years on, at the end of 2010, and a mere 100yds from the site of Stancliffe’s former brewery, a new brewery was unveiled.
With many years of home brewing under his belt Toby Mckenzie took the brave decision to install a six barrel brewing plant in Sutton Mill, on Gunco Lane, Macclesfield (a short barrel roll to the Railway View!) and, with the support of his wife Caroline and young family, set up the RedWillow Brewery. The first commercial brew came from the brewery on December 1st 2010 and was named Directionless, a 4.1% pale ale using American Centennial and Amarillo hops. Just six weeks on and the brewery now offers no less than five cask ales. In addition to Directionless there is Headless (a 3.9% beer with Centennial and Cascade hops), Smokeless (a 4% smoked porter), Feckless (a 4.1% brew with Target, Goldings and Fuggles hops) and Wreckless, (a very hoppy, aromatic 4.8% Pale, loaded with Citra and Amarillo hops).
Since launching, RedWillow beers have been well received appearing (and disappearing very quickly!) both locally and nationally and have already received several awards including:-
- 'Beer of the Festival' - Congleton Beer Festival 2011
- Bronze Medal - Peterborough Beer Festival 2011 (‘Smokeless’)
- ‘Champion Beer of Cheshire’ 2011 (‘Wreckless’)
- ‘Gold Medal’ (Premium Bitter – ‘Wreckless’) - SIBA North festival October 2011.
- ‘Gold Medal’ (Premium Bitter – ‘Wreckless’) - SIBA National festival February 2012.
- ‘Silver Medal’ (Overall – ‘Wreckless’) - SIBA National festival February 2012.
Toby continues to experiment through his ‘Faithless’ range which has resulted in some delicious beers including a black IPA and a weisse beer.
Further expansion at the brewery is planned despite the constraints of space.
For details of RedWillow beers, draft and in bottles, checkout their web site: www.redwillowbrewery.com