Lawyer called to bar of the other sort

Ex-Solicitor Bill Scantlebury has given up his legal career to pursue his dream of brewing quality real ale and he is seen with a a pint of Lovely Nelly outside the Bacchus pub, Newcastle.
Ex-Solicitor Bill Scantlebury has given up his legal career to pursue his dream of brewing quality real ale and he is seen with a a pint of Lovely Nelly outside the Bacchus pub, Newcastle.

A FORMER solicitor is hoping his new career as a brewery boss doesn’t leave him bitter.

Bill Scantlebury gave up a career in the law to follow his lifelong dream of brewing his own beer, and he is now celebrating landing his biggest order to date.

Earlier this year, as reported in the News Guardian, the 44-year-old set up Cullercoats Brewery to produce two real ales, helping to save lives at sea in the process.

For every pint of Lovely Nelly and Jack the Devil sold, 3p will go to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s Cullercoats station.

Both beers’ names draw on the history of the lifeboats at Cullercoats.

On New Year’s Day in 1861, Cullercoats fisherwomen pulled the lifeboat the two miles to Whitley Bay to be launched in rough conditions to rescue the Lovely Nelly after it ran aground off Cullercoats Bay.

The lifeboat managed to save all lives on board except that of cabin boy John Chisholm, also known as Jack the Devil.

Bill, of Cullercoats, has been brewing beer since he was a teenager and tried setting up his own brewery in 1996 but was unable to get the necessary funding.

After saving up while working as a solicitor, he found the perfect premises in Wallsend and launched Cullercoats Brewery this year. It is able to produce ten barrels – or 2,880 pints – a week.

Bill, a father of three, said: “Cullercoats Brewery is something I have worked towards for a long time. It’s always been my ambition. When I hit the age of 44, I thought it was now or never as being a brewer is quite a physical job.

“Being a solicitor, you only ever see people who have problems, but when you are a brewer, you’re supplying something that people love, and there is nothing more satisfying than seeing someone enjoy your beer.”

He added that, living in Cullercoats, he had always been aware of the village’s RNLI and the work it does and was keen to help raise money for the organisation.

“The added incentive for the 3p per pint donation to the RNLI is the icing on the cake for me,” said Bill.

“If the brewery goes to plan, it could mean a donation of £4,500 in the first year alone.”

Nearly 20 pubs in the region – including the Tynemouth Lodge Hotel in North Shields and the Strawberry in Newcastle – have placed orders for Lovely Nelly, a pale ale with an alcohol-by-volume content of 3.9 per cent, and Jack the Devil, a bitter with a strength of 4.5 per cent.

Bill is already looking to the future, with hopes of brewing a stout or a port, and if demand increases, he will also look to take on more staff and brew more barrels.

Any landlords or pub managers interested in stocking either beer can contact Bill on 07895 692881 or e-mail cullercoatsbrewery@gmail.com