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food & drink: The real deal prove size doesn't matter; YOUR GUIDE TO GOING OUT THERE'S SOMETHING BREWING ...

AS head brewer at Boddington's, Dave Facer was used to overseeing 750,000 barrels a year of "the cream of Manchester". Today he's turning out just a fraction of that with his own North Wales brewery.

Facer's is Flintshire's only commercial real ale brewery and is proving a bumper success with beer lovers around the region, as well as meriting a mention in the latest edition of a The Real Ale Guide.

North Wales drinkers have darker personalities than their counterparts in Manchester, says Dave. "They prefer deeper coloured, more malty brews," he said.

After 30 years in the brewing industry, Dave is delighted to have struck out on his own, though he has no plan to rival the big league brewers who he used to work for.

Today Dave is happy to keep things small, living in Flint Mountain with his wife Annette and her 95-year-old dad, Harold Edmunds.

"Facer's is a micro-brewer that's the way I like it," he said.

The couple moved from Manchester to be nearer to Harold shortly after Dave took the decision to start on his own. He said: "I think everyone who works in the industry secretly wants to try brewing their own beer, it's something I'd long thought about."

Dave started in the business at Wilsons brewery in Manchester in 1977 and worked with Chesters of Salford, Tetley's in Leeds and Whitbread at Samlesbury before he joined Boddingtons in 1991. He became head brewer in 1999.

He said: "I was lucky to join just at the right time, when they were on the crest of a wave and their 'cream of Manchester' advertising campaign took off nationally."

Dave first launched his company in Manchester, sharing premises with Bazens brewers, catering for the north west market with four light hoppy beers. Since moving to open Facers in Flint he has added darker brews, making seven beers in all, including Dave's Hoppy Beer, Clwyd Gold and Splendid Ale.

"Different areas have different tastes, it's a bit like food, each region has its own specialities.

"Originally I planned to brew from home in Flint Mountain, but as business expanded I got premises on Flint industrial estate and an assistant, Philip Blanchard. I was surprised at the way it has taken off, we have some capacity to expand, but I'm still happy to keep things fairly small scale."

Dave currently brews enough beer to fill 2,400 pints a week, supplying more than 30 pubs in North Wales, plus others in north west England.

The Real Ale Pub Guide 2008, (Foulsham, pounds 12.99) also lists Bragdy'r Bryn, Denbigh, 01745 812266 and www.bragdybryn.co.uk; Ceredigion brewery, 01545 561417; Bragdy Gwynant, Aberystwyth, 01970 880248; Conwy Brewery, 01492 585287 and www.conwybrewery.co.uk; Great Orme Brewery, Glan Conwy, 01492 580548 and www.greatormebrewery.co.uk; Jolly Brewer, Wrexham, 01978 261884 and www.jollybrewer.co.uk; Plassey, Wrexham, 01978 781111 and www.plasseybrewery.co.uk; Purple Moose, Porthmadog, 01766 515571 and www.purplemoose.co.uk; Snowdonia Brewery, Waunfawr, 01286 6650409 and www.snowdonia-park.co.uk

WIN A REAL ALE GUIDE

We've five copies of The Real Ale Guide 2008 up for grabs. For your chance to win one just answer this question: WHERE IS DAVE FACER'S BREWERY NOW BASED?

Answers on a postcard please with your name, address and day-time phone number by April 21 to Sarah Batley, Real Ale Competition, Daily Post, Vale Road, Llandudno Junction, Conwy LL31 9ZD

Visit www.facers.co.uk for more details

CAPTION(S):

Dave Facer (left and inset) checks the temperature of the mash, while Philip Blanchard fills the casks Pictures: STACEY ROBERTS
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 15, 2008
Words:604
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