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Rumour-Monger, by Northern Whisper Brewing

Carmelo sent a simple text... “Would you like to open a brewery with me?"

In 2016, brothers Josh and Barney Vines held a beer festival on their family farm in Rossendale, Lancashire. It was here they met a budding brewer and chef called Carmelo Pillitteri who was mastering some small scale recipes in the kitchen of his nearby pub.

Eager to secure some free feed for the farm animals, Josh asked Carmelo if he could collect the spent grain leftover from Carmelo’s brews. Over the next few months, the guys formed a friendship that in early 2017 led to Carmelo sending one simple text... “Would you guys like to open a brewery with me?”.

Since building and launching the brewery in 2017, they’ve also opened their first taproom in their hometown. In 2018 they were awarded ‘Top Brewer’ and ‘Best New Brewer’ in Lancashire. Northern Whisper could quite easily just cater to local demand (they like their bitter in this neck of the woods), but there is a distinctly international feel to the brewery, both in their beer roster and how far and wide they are distributed.

Rumour Monger is their Dunkelweizen (dark wheat beer) brewed to a traditional German recipe with very little bitterness and barely any hop aroma. All of the magic in this beer comes from the yeast with flavours of banana and cloves cutting through a rich malty body.

Despite having a beer roster inspired by styles from all over the world, Kayley Spencer, Office Manager at Northern Whisper, explains why their location is so important to them; “Rossendale has always had a manufacturing background. In the early days, the “Valley” developed around the cotton mills like many Lancashire Mill towns and following on from this came the footwear and garment factories. Like many small towns, Rossendale’s manufacturing industries have taken a knock over the last 30 years, losing out to cheaper imports from the Far East and India. It now fills us with great pride to be producing a product in Rossendale once again”.

The team is now eight people strong and recent orders have come from as far afield as Shanghai. Kayley explains what the next couple of years have in store for the brewery; “The plan for the future is to keep growing at home and abroad. We have a second Tap Room due to open later this year with further Tap rooms planned over the next 3 years. Oversees discussions are going well with our Chinese partners and we expect to be sending our next shipment at some point in the next few months. We would really like to see the craft beer revolution in the UK emulate the success that has been achieved in the USA, where it is now commonplace to find 50-150 different beers on offer at just your standard local restaurant/Bar. It’s going to take a massive effort from everybody in the UK craft beer industry to achieve this in what is such a monopolised market but we will certainly be fighting the corner here in East Lancashire.”

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