Leisure sector entrepreneur Mark Hird plans to open more microbreweries and brewpubs across the North East after launching his first brewpub in County Durham.

M&C Report revealed in June that Hird, managing director of Sunderland-based bar, restaurant and hotel operator Tavistock Leisure, was to open a modern-style craft beer brewery. It’s now been confirmed that £200,000 is to be invested setting up the Sonnet 43 Brew House adjoining the Kicking Cuddy pub at Coxhoe, which is expected to start production at the end of September.

The venue will include a tasting room and restaurant, serving craft beers and a range of classic British food.

Hird said: “The craft beer market is one of the only sectors in the pub industry that has shown strong growth in recent years and I’m really excited about playing a role and supporting the shift from mass-produced beers to ones that have been more lovingly crafted.”

Sonnet 43 beers will be sold at Tavistock venues initially and also other bars and restaurants across the UK. A spokeswoman said: “If this proves successful Mark, head brewer Michael Harker and their team of specially appointed graduates and brewing apprentices hope to add more lines to Sonnet 43 in the coming months, with longer term plans to open additional microbreweries and brew pubs across the North East.”

Hird added: “I’ve had a strong interest in craft beers for a few years now and it really took off when I attended a course with Sunderland-based Brew Lab last year. Now, after realising the scope we have to produce beers not only for Tavistocks own sites but for other venues across the UK, I’m confident that Sonnet 43 is the way forward.”

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