SPOTTING a gap in the market to grow food and drink tourism in Yorkshire resulted in beer enthusiast Mark Stredwick launch his brewery tour venture.

Brewtown Brewery Tours was set up last year and now offers beer tasting experiences in York and Leeds, with the chance to meet the big names and rising stars of the county’s craft brewing scene.

With a pledge to promote “great Yorkshire beer from local independent breweries” the business if hoping to impress judges in the New Business of the Year and the Retail, Tourism and Leisure Business of the Year categories.

Mr Stredwick, who before launching Brewtown, worked for a brewery tours business in Sydney, Australia, said: “I first came across the idea of a bus tour to microbreweries on a trip to the state of Oregon in the USA.

“On returning to the UK I realised that no one was doing a tour like this, although there are walking tours, and that food and drink tourism as a whole is in it’s infancy.

“ The potential for further growth is huge. Looking at the food and drink tourism industries in the USA, Canada, France, Italy, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand highlights that people want to meet the providers of good quality local produce, to feel their passion and hear the stories of the providers of the food and drink that people eat.

“I plan on setting up gin tours in the near future when certain distilleries have finally completed their building work.”

Brewtown Brewery Tours provides beer lovers with unrestricted access to some of the best breweries in the county. The day involves being picked up at lunch time and being taken to three small independent local breweries around York or Leeds where guests can meet the brewers, listen to their stories, learn about beer and the beer making process and sample a few of the breweries beers before returning in time for dinner.