THE equipment is in, the decorating is almost finished, and Alan and Andy are raring to go.

Now, it's down to business.

Barring any unforeseen late hiccups, production at York's newest brewery will begin on Wednesday.

Ainsty Ales is a familiar name already, after two years of cuckoo brewing around the region.

Now, owner Andy Herrington and his new head brewer Alan Hardie are about to start work at their own premises, in a large converted barn at Manor Farm in Acaster Malbis, just south of the city.

York Press:

Alan Hardie and Andy Herrington

"We're almost there now," said Andy yesterday, between some of the final jobs.

"The electrician has been, the plumber's been and we're just tidying the building up now. There's nothing that will stop us brewing and we should be there next Wednesday.

"It will be two years in October since I started out. I wanted to be able to push the brand out there and make Ainsty Ales a known name, and I have now got good contacts."

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The first beer on his own equipment will be Flummoxed Farmer, one of the existing popular beers. A new IPA, Kolkata Karma, will be next, followed by a new pale ale, Ainsty Angel, continuing the alliterative trend.

A chocolate porter will follow suit, and then new recruit Alan Hardie will be introducing some new recipes of his own.

Alan's arrival is a big boost for Ainsty Ales as it builds on its reputation. Alan's a master brewer and has nine years' experience at York Brewery under his belt.

This marks his first role as head brewer, and he's keen to get going.

"It's exciting," he says. "It's a big step but if I hadn't taken the opportunity I think I would have always wondered what might have been. I have been helping set up the brewery as well, which is new for me.

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Inside the new brewery

"The first few beers are planned and as we go I will be tweaking them to make them even better. Then probably a Christmas ale will be one of the first ones we come up with after that."

The first beers should be fairly widely available around York, but they should certainly be at Coptoberfest, the charity beer festival in Copmanthorpe on October 14 and 15. There will be around 25 real ales in St Giles Church, and another half dozen or so at The Royal Oak pub.

Andy says: "It would be a bit embarrassing if I didn't have my own beers on at my own festival, so I want all the beers available for that."

Thereafter, Andy is keen to target other areas across the north, and to build on his existing strong business links, including with Costcutter and the Marriott hotels in York and Leeds.

He will also be offering some of his spare capacity to Eyes Brewing, a young Leeds Brewery that specialises in wheat beers.

Andy is also keen to promote events and groups within the old Ainsty patch, which stretches west of York, bounded by the Rivers Ouse, Nidd and Wharfe.

He says: "I'm an Acomb lad, now in Copmanthorpe, and I wanted to build something about the old Ainsty area. Both the owner and head brewer live in the area and that's great, and we will continue working with charities and groups in that area."