Let’s drink great craft beer and support our amazing local breweries…

Middlesbrough has some amazing local breweries, and Liam Senior, managing director of Salt Steel Brewing Co., wants more people to discover what awesome craft beers there are right on our doorstep.
Originally from the North West but with close family links to the North East, Liam, 31, now lives in Teesside, and started the brewery through his passion for craft beer last November.
Chloe Tempestoso caught up with Liam in the middle of the lockdown to find out more about the Salt Steel Brewing Co.

What does Middlesbrough mean to you?
Middlesbrough and the Teesside area holds an incredibly special place in my heart. I am originally from a town in the North West called Northwich. Around eight years ago, I met my now wife and would drive up to Middlesbrough every other weekend. I would look forward to coming up and we made so many great memories that I decided to relocate up here less than a year later. My late granddad worked for ICI and would travel from Northwich to Teesside when he was younger, a journey I followed many years later.
Middlesbrough is where I have chosen to live, to work, to raise a family and is now home. Definitely consider me an honorary smoggy! And I do love a parmo.

What’s your story behind your business?
Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love craft beer. It is something I am extremely passionate about. I think more people need to discover how great craft beer is.
Salt Steel started to join the crusade and fight back against crap commercial lager. We want more people drinking great craft beer and supporting local breweries. #CraftNotCrap

Why do you think independent businesses are so important to an area like Teesside?
Teesside has a thriving business community full or incredibly passionate, talented people. I have never known an area like Teesside. People just want to help each other. There is a real sense of community and everyone just wants to support and see people do well. There’s no rivalry or resentment. With this comes opportunities and jobs, which of course then supports the area and the local economy. People chose to support local businesses here and put back into Teesside.

What has the reactions been in the area to your business?
So far it’s been great. We are still in our early stages but the support has been fantastic. Plenty of local bars and restaurants are supporting us and I am getting lots of messages and requests asking when we’ll be ready. I think people identify with our brand and what we’re trying to achieve, and genuinely want to see us do well. It’s really exciting!

Why do you believe Teesside gets such a bad reputation in the media?
I think the media often focus on the negatives. Yes, unfortunately Teesside often tops the lists that you don’t want to be top of, and it fits in with the mantra that “it’s grim up north”. But in most cases, the people who write these articles have never stepped foot in the area. They’ve never walked along the beaches at Saltburn and Redcar enjoying a lemon top. They haven’t been to Roseberry Topping or Captain Cook’s Monument, and enjoyed the glorious countryside, and they never will. It’s their loss. Up the Boro!

How did you come up with the name Salt Steel Brewing Co?
I wanted something that would combine the two towns that mean the most to me. Northwich where I am from, and Middlesbrough where I now live. Both towns have a rich industrial history that I wanted to show. Northwich is famous for its salt mines and Teesside for its steel. I felt Salt Steel Brewing Co., and its logo, would give people something relatable and to be proud of.

What’s your advice to anyone in Teesside wanting to start their own business?
Do it. Right now. Stop what you’re doing and do it. Sometimes it can be scary to create something and share it with the world, but in Teesside there are so many businesses and people that can support you and guide you. There is an amazing business community that will want you to succeed, and you might even have some fun along the way.

Can you tell us a bit about the products you are selling offering customers?
We are in the final stages of developing our flagship beer. It’s a West Coast IPA and will be available soon. It will be the first of what we hope will be many craft beers and we can’t wait to share them with the people of Teesside and beyond!

You can find Salt Steel Brewing Co. at www.saltsteelbrewing.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Interview by Chloe Tempestoso
Founder of Project Middlesbrough