CORBRIDGE’S historic Pele Tower is set to become a local pub after its new managers announced plans to install a microbrewery in the 14th-century monument.
Originally used to protect the town from Border Reivers during the 14th and 15th centuries, the tower was converted into an events venue last year by Shaun and Jane Cutler, who bought it from the Duke of Northumberland.
Now the pair have decided to lease the venue to pub-trade veterans Darren and Paula Williams, from Cumbria, who are planning to install a microbrewery on the ground floor to brew their own Pele Ale.
The tower will continue to host events such as Champagne and wine-tasting nights but will also be open seven days a week as a pub.
Shaun, who brought the building into the 21st-century by installing running water, electricity and wifi, said: “Because it’s been run as an events venue it means the doors aren’t open all the time. It’s only open when somebody hires it.
“We have been looking around for the next stage of its development and decided to put it on the market for rent.”
Jane added: “When we met Paula and Darren we knew instantly their vision for the place was like ours, to breathe new life into it and open it to the community.”
Darren and Paula, who live near Whitehaven, will be relocating to Tynedale.
With 27 years in the pub and restaurant industry behind them - having run the Brown Cow in Cockermouth and The Waterfront in Whitehaven, to name just a few - they have plenty of experience in the business.
Yet the journey into brewing will be a first for the pair, who have called on the expertise of Allendale Brewery to get them started.
“We’ll be installing our own brewing equipment here on the ground floor,” said Darren.
“But because we’ve got limited space, Allendale Brewery will be brewing some for us, so we’ll have a Pele Ale from them and a Pele Ale Special made here.”
The couple want the brews to sit between a pale and golden ale, with the Pele Ale Special coming in darker and stronger at about 4.5 per cent.
It is hoped that the new pub, which will also stock drinks from Hexhamshire, Wylam and High House Farm breweries as well as 30 gins and whiskies, will be launched within the next few weeks.