Wedding in a brewery points to an exciting new career for Leanne - Great Newsome Brewery
A secret wedding, a glamping hut and a taste for a challenge were the unusual ingredients that set one of Yorkshire’s few women brewers on her new career path.
31-year-old Leanne Little joined Great Newsome Brewery as a trainee last year. But a few months earlier, she’d visited the site, for a very different reason – to get married.
Our award-winning craft brewery is based at Great Newsome Farm in rural Winestead, 12 miles east of Hull, where our luxury ‘Little Otchan’ Shepherd’s Hut makes the perfect venue for weekend breaks and special occasions.
Leanne said: “I’d always wanted to get married outside and when I saw the Shepherd’s Hut advertised in the Hull Daily Mail, it seemed the ideal place.”
After going to the registry office to make everything legal, Leanne and new husband Damian headed to the hut for the ceremony proper, keeping it secret from their parents until the last minute. A honeymoon in Iceland followed and that could have been that but for a change in Leanne’s career plans.
“I needed a change from my job as a sales advisor,” she said. “Then I saw a job advert for a brewery assistant at Great Newsome which had more career opportunities. It also appealed because I like to be creative and hands on.”
Her new role is a world away from hitting the phones to chase sales leads. A typical day sees Leanne loading the ingredients for a new batch into the ‘mash tun’, including Great Newsome’s malt from barley grown on our farm. Then extracted sugary wort then goes into the copper to be boiled before hops are added and it’s transferred to the fermenter.
“It can be stressful,” she said. “There are peaks and troughs but there’s a rhythm to it. You have to be methodical, make sure everything’s sanitised, and keep an eye on the clock to make sure it’s running smoothly.”
While Great Newsome is an equal opportunities employer, with women playing key roles in our 9-strong team, Leanne is the only female in brewing room. But, she says, she’s not daunted by life in an overwhelmingly male working environment.
“I’m the only woman working down here although I follow a couple of other female brewers on Instagram. It’s fun but you need a good sense of humour. Also, the work’s quite physical. I used to go to the gym before I started here, now I don’t need to.
“It’s very family orientated so I do feel like I’m looked after and appreciated.”
Having already made the jump from brewery assistant to trainee brewer, Leanne now wants to learn her trade so she can contribute to the creative decisions that go into developing award-winning brews like Sleck Dust and Frothingham Best.
“I’d like to progress more in the brewery, learn more about why we do things certain ways, why certain things change bitterness and aroma,” she says.
Leanne and Damian have made a return visit to the place where it all started – the Shepherd’s Hut – for their first wedding anniversary. Who knows? In a couple of years, they could be toasting the occasion with a glass of beer devised by Great Newsome’s newest star.
Our director Matthew Hodgson said: “It’s been fantastic having Leanne join our team and are pleased to play a part in promoting brewing as a career choice for women. We look forward to seeing her flourish in her new role.”
Please follow the link to take a look at the brewery’s Little Otchan Shepherd Hut: