Steven Holmes

Farmyard Ales, Moss Edge Farm, Lancashire

STEVEN has turned his passion for hobby brewing beer into a successful farm diversification on a Lancashire dairy farm, taking advantage of a growing taste for craft ale in the UK and utilising the farm story as a marketing feature for the business.

Farm Yard Ales was created to make the farming enterprise sustainable so he and his wife were able to carry on farming after his father on their fifth generation family farm. And the business also helps the farm, with waste products from the beer being used as feed for the cows. This allows the farm to cut costs with wastewater also able to be spread on the land as a fertiliser.

The beer was on sale in shops, including supermarket Booths, pubs and Steven also hosted a ‘Tap Room’ onsite which has attracted punters from as far afield as Germany and Australia. This benefits from caravan sites nearby as there is nothing similar in the area as well as boosting the sites with visitors.

Going forward, Farmyard Ales was looking to get into a canning line in to take advantage of a booming canned beer market, with no canning facilities within 50 miles. They will then be able to can their own beer as well as doing contract canning for other local breweries.

His business has also benefitted from LEADER funding and in 2016, Steven won a competition by Land Rover and the Prices Trust to win a Discovery Sport and soon got it stickered up with Farm Yard Ales branding, helping market the business.

Steven is always going the extra mile for the business, driving a milk tanker alongside his day job to make sure the income was secure and reaching out to customers by delivering beer himself.

The judges said about Steven: Steven’s focus and drive to ensure the business’s success can be seen in the impressive financial figures supporting this new farm diversification. He has an in-depth understanding of the market place and all of the judges were impressed by his future plans and convinced the growth of the business would be tremendous. Steven is testament to the drive, innovation and creativity that is so apparent in diversification.

On winning the award, Steven said: “We have come a long way in a short time and to be a finalist let alone a winner is awesome. Our farm has been in the family for five generations and we wanted to see it go into the sixth. We had to make drastic changes to keep us going  but we really believe in what we are doing and always looking at the next big thing. We move forward as a family.”