WOLD Top Brewery was crowned Business of the Year at the Press Business Awards last month after also picking up the Small Business of the Year title. Business Editor Laura Knowlson takes a look at the farm-based business to see what lies behind the brewery's success and how it plans to follow an award-winning year.

LAUNCHED in 2003 as a farm diversification project Wold Top Brewery has grown over the past 11 years out of an idea, developed from a need to increase farm income.

The Mellors, a third generation farming family from Wold Newton, near Driffield, utilised what it did best in producing high quality malting barley and combining it with its own chalk filtered Yorkshire Wolds water to brew what has gone on to become a range of award winning ales.

From being a regional brewery with a strong local following, Wold Top Brewery has now replicated its success globally with exports now accounting for 12 per cent of its turnover.

As the business grows its world-wide presence the time has now come to grow its NorthYorkshire operation, with the installation of a new brewery planned for the new year.

Gill Mellor, who founded the business with her husband Tom, said: "We going to be putting in a new brewery in January and remodelling the shed.

"That will double our capacity, which will enable us to contract brew and bottle for other breweries.

"It will double our production, but at the same time make life a lot easier for our staff, who have been pushed very hard to cope with demand in our current facilities."

Wold Top Brewery has grown to a team of 17 people, and now features a free standing bottling company, Agricola Bottling, that is run by the fourth generation of the family, Kate and her husband Alex.

The Mellors have also launched a wedding and events business on the site of the farm. Muddy Souls Events was launch last year as further diversification of the farming enterprise.

Mrs Mellor said: "On the bottling side our bottle sales are expanding more and more so we are looking to meet demand for this growing side of the business.

"We are restrained by our location when it comes to delivering and moving cask beers about. It's not economically viable to be shipping miles and miles away and chasing casks so we are moving more towards a bottled product that is easier to distribute.

"The events company is also growing really quickly. We've been thrilled with how that is going.

"We are already fully booked for weddings in 2015, and we've got three people wanting the same date in 2016. We are looking at doing a bit more on the corporate events side, trying to expand this to fit alongside the weddings."

Prior to be being named Business of the Year, and Small Business of the Year, Wold Top Brewery has been a finalist at the Press Business Awards in three previous years having been shortlisted for New Business of the Year, Family Business of the Year, and Think Green Business of the Year.

Now the Dare to Export Award could be on the business's hit list as Wold Top's directors have spend the last 18 months working to forge links with partner companies in Europe and worldwide.

The business now export a range of bottled beers to Italy, Sweden, Norway, Finland, The Falkland Islands, Ireland and Canada, with export sales growing 90 per cent year on year.

Mrs Mellor said: "It's still early days on the export front but we've made some very positive move, especially in Eastern Europe, where we feel we can offer good follow up services to sales."