Depleted funds left Red and Sam Kellie of the First & Last Brewery in Elsdon unable to replace a broken delivery van.

But after approaching Vattenfall’s Ray Wind Fund’s ‘Covid Emergency Fund’ for help their community enterprise is back on the road.

With Christmas looming and demand for home deliveries increasing, a replacement vehicle was vital. The Emergency Fund provided necessary funding and a larger van was fitted out so that business could resume in earnest; Red standing on top of a ladder to stir mash in a massive stainless steel tun and Sam wasting no time getting out to deliver their award winning beers.

Red explained: “As we are part of the Elsdon community - which is so important to us, and for our children - we want to ensure that the business continues to grow and is stronger after the pandemic. We also hope we can bring in a young local person to learn the brewing business and join the team.”

The local community has enthusiastically rallied round the couple, bringing them excess fruit from their orchards, and helping with storage space in the village.

Red said: ‘Before lockdown in March, casks supplied to pubs were 90 per cent of our business with home deliveries just 10 per cent. Since lockdown those percentages have reversed – we couldn’t possibly have met the increased demand without the Ray Wind Fund’s help with the replacement van”.

In addition to their pale ales and stouts they have developed a range of canned beers using local flowers and fruits.

As soon as the new van was fitted out, Sam was away on deliveries, spreading the word about the First & Last, and Red was back mashing the mash tun. The five massive fermenting vessels were working away on the next batches of Northumberland brewed beers for customers of this award winning, family-run, micro brewery in the heart of Redesdale.