Q&A with Runaway Brewery

Mark Welsby
Runaway Brewing

Please introduce yourself...
Hello! I'm, Mark, co-founder and head brewer (amongst other things) at The Runaway Brewery. The brewery was founded by me and an old school friend, Darren & we started brewing in spring 2014. We brew modern, internationally influenced, flavour focussed, British beers.

Where do you brew from and what's your set up?
We have a 5.5 bbl micro-brewery, located in an (almost obligatory) railway arch in the centre of Manchester. Our beer is unpasteurised, unfiltered and (at present) all conditioned in key keg and bottle. All of our beer is packaged by hand at the Brewery, to ensure we have as much control as possible over the quality of our finished product.

What was your path into the world of brewing?
First and foremost, we're beer drinkers & over time, realised that enjoying beer was more than just a pastime. So we packed in our day jobs, and set out on a bit of an adventure - to do something we feel is important; something that makes us want to get up in the morning (well, most mornings at any rate).

Beer is an important part of our heritage and cultural identity, it's something we're famous for the world over, yet until recently it had a bit of an image problem. We wanted to be part of the movement to modernise beer in the UK - so we did the obvious thing! 

Starting as we have, from a very base level - It's been a steep learning curve. But one we've thoroughly enjoyed - we certainly don't have any regrets!

Whats the single biggest challenge facing the UK independent beer market?
Hop shortages are going to have a big impact in the next couple of years I'd think. But maintaining quality and consistency of output, whilst continuing to innovate & remain creative will be crucial. Those breweries who fail to reinvest in equipment, skills, knowledge etc. will find it increasingly difficult as more and more breweries open/seek to grow. I'd like to think there will always be a place for small, local, independent producers - providing we continue to take pride in what we do.

What was the first beer which altered your perception of beer?
Probably Hophead from Darkstar. It wasn't so much an epiphany - but it helped me get back into Real Ale after a few years on the cider living in Bristol.

What do you drink when you're not drinking your own beers?
I drink everything and anything - as long as it tastes good! When it comes to beer, we're spoilt for choice in Manchester at the moment - I usually get a recommendation from the bar staff & go from there.

Describe your brewery in six words.
Didn't realise this was Heat Magazine...

Mike Hampshire