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Former press photographer makes switch to brewing

A former regional press photographer has swapped his camera for beer bottles by taking over a micro brewery firm.

Real ale fan Mark Johnston worked for Cumbrian Newspapers where he was based at the Times and Star in Workington for 22 years, before leaving around five or six years ago

Now he has taken over the Derwent Brewery in Silloth with his wife Ali, who was working there as an administrator, from the previous owner Stuart Richardson.

Mark has become the sole brewer at the business, which produces 25 different ales a year.

Since leaving the newspaper industry, he has done some travelling and also had a couple of investments, before starting a part-time driving job for the brewery prior to taking it over in January.

Mark told HTFP: “I have always loved beer, in particular real ale, and we both had a decent insight into the business with working there.

“It has been extremely busy. We are working long days but the beer is going out as fast as I can make it. We are still really finding our feet.”

He said he did not have vast experience of brewing before taking on the business so he had spent time with the previous brewer, learning how to make their popular brands.

Mark added: “The one thing I don’t miss about being a photographer were the weekends where you were sat in the freezing cold doing football or rugby matches that all kicked off at the same time.

“But obviously I enjoyed it – that it why I did it for 22 years.”

Derwent Brewery was established in 1997 and brews traditional ales which are sold throughout Cumbria, Yorkshire, Lancashire and North East England.


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  • April 12, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Mark may well now qualify as the first snapper I know to be able to organise a p**s-up in a brewery…

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  • April 12, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    Well done Mark – got out before the rot set in !

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