From university hobby to his own brewery

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A senior business partner at the University of Leicester has launched his own microbrewery as the popularity of real ales continues to grow.

Creaton Grange Ales began last year as the by-product of Ed Matt’s hobby, and he is now supplying three beers to several outlets in Leicestershire and Northamptonshire.

Despite many pubs struggling – reportedly 18 close each week across the country – the demand for real ale is growing, particularly among the rising number of micro-pubs.

And Ed, 33, is delighted with how his business has started. “When I was at university, my brother bought me a home brew kit and I realised I could create 40 pints for £7,” he recalled.

“That seemed a no-brainer and my interest developed from there.”

His first beer from scratch, called Pheasant Tale, was made for his cousin’s wedding – and later his own – and it was so popular he was encouraged to set up the business.

“It’s hard work and tiring as I have to fit it in around my day job, my family and my weekend role as a Major in the Army Reserves,” added Matt.

“I prefer lighter beers so that’s what I have focussed on and my degree in chemistry has helped me to adapt recipes until I’m satisfied.”

Ed comes from four generations of farmers at Creaton, in Northamptonshire, and he hopes to use that background to eventually grow barley and hops, while a long-term aim would be to use water from a spring on their land.