Kirkstall Brewery to move in as The Tetley moves out

Kirkstall Brewery has announced that it is taking on the lease of The Tetley, with plans to make it a hub for great beer from Leeds and renew its status as a “landmark of Yorkshire beer culture”.

‘The Tetley’ building is the former brewing headquarters of Tetley’s Brewery in Hunslet, built in the Art Deco style in 1931. In the 1980s, Tetley’s Brewery became the largest producer of cask ale in the world, and the site has remained an icon of Leeds beer history, even after its closure in 2011.

The building, which now sits at the heart of Leeds’s newest mixed-use district, Aire Park, then operated as a contemporary art gallery from 2013 until 2023, when its lease ended.

The previous owners of the building, Carlsberg UK, agreed to a free lease over ten years ago for the gallery and continued to manage the upkeep of the building – maintaining the iconic neon lights, installing a new roof and more.

In 2022, The Tetley successfully secured capital development funding from Arts Council England to contribute to the development and fit-out of the building for its ongoing use as an art gallery. However in 2023 the new owners, Vastinit UK, revealed they had other long-term plans for the building.

Since then, The Tetley has been working hard to identify a new home in Leeds with several partners, collaborating on what seemed like very promising outcomes – but due to the financial climate these plans have not materialised.

Bryony Bond, CEO of The Tetley commented:

“The Tetley building made all sorts of things possible for us. We welcomed over a million visitors, presented Yorkshire’s only Turner Prize winning exhibition, supported artists in developing their careers and reached thousands of children and families through our Tiny Tetley Studio and workshops. We’re immensely proud of everything we’ve achieved.”

The Tetley, who are looking to rebrand themselves as they move forward, coninue their off site work including the play group at the Hamara Centre and plans for an outdoor play and creativity space at Rowland Road Club in Beeston.

From May, Kirkstall will be operating The Tetley as a showcase of the very best of brewing in Leeds. It will feature beers from other breweries in the area, alongside brands from Kirkstall Brewery, Leeds Brewery and Holt’s most recent acquisition, North. Kirkstall also plans to host a number of events at the historic building.

“It’s a tremendous privilege to bring Leeds’s most iconic brewery building into the Kirkstall fold,” said Steve Holt, Kirkstall Brewery’s owner and founder. “As a brewery that pays a great deal of respect to the history of brewing in the city, we believe we are the ideal custodians for the next chapter of this legendary building.”

Michael Cronin, Head of Portfolio at Vastint UK, the developer behind Aire Park and owners of The Tetley building, said:

“Last year we outlined our ambitions to safeguard this iconic building for the next 100 years and have now submitted our plans to the council. Since we became custodians of the building, it was always our intention to keep it open until the restoration work got underway to bring this fantastic building up to 21st century standards. So, we’re thrilled to be welcoming Kirkstall Brewery to Aire Park and to be bringing one of the current generations of Leeds and Yorkshire breweries to a site which has played such a pivotal role in the history of beer making in the region.

“The Tetley will form the centre piece of Aire Park, alongside the eight-acre public park and this collaboration will hopefully give the people of Leeds a small taster of what’s to come in the very near future.”

Holt added:

“It really is the crown jewel of brewing history in Leeds, and we are deeply grateful for the opportunity to make it a landmark of Yorkshire beer culture once again.”

The Tetley is expected to reopen under Kirkstall’s management in May.

 

This post is based on a press releases issued by Kirkstall Brewery and The Tetley

 

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