9th May 2018 by Rachel Wallhouse

It wasn’t that long ago that being a beer-drinker was a choice between Lager, Bitter and Mild, or perhaps an exotic German Pilsner if you were lucky. But, gone are those days! The beer scene has never been as exciting and dynamic with a wealth of options now available from Belgium, America, Scandinavia and… Rossendale?

While the small town in the Irwell Valley, famed for its dry ski slope, might not first jump out as the natural home for pioneers of the Craft Beer world, the guys over at Northern Whisper Brewing Co. are certainly doing their part in tackling what they describe as the stupid ‘sameyness’ of the beer market of old.

Brothers, Barney and Josh Vines, and Carmelo Pillitteri (all from Rossendale) founded the Brewery in 2017. The idea for the brewery, however, had been bubbling away for some years before; Carmelo had been brewing behind his family restaurant since the start of 2012, while Barney & Josh had been holding beer festivals on their family farm in Helmshore for a number of years.


During a chance meeting in October 2016 Carmelo agreed to let Josh start collecting the spent grain produced during the brewing process to feed to his rare breed pigs. 4 months later when asking about collecting that week’s grain Josh received the following text from Carmelo:


The rest, as they say, is history!

“The past 12 months have been a whirl wind! In that time we have founded the brewery, developed a range of 13 beers, opened two tap rooms, one in Rawtenstall and one at our brewery in Cloughfold, supplied over 300 establishments across the United Kingdom and last month shipped our first pallet of beer to China. It’s fair to say we have been a little bit busy!”

Although started on a whim, ask the team at Northern Whisper how to define their brewing ethos, and they’ll give you one word: ‘inclusive’. Their range includes everything from traditional British Bitter all the way to the ultra-modern Raspberry Sour, with some IPA’s, an APA, Saison, Stout, Golden Ale, Lager, Witbier and Dunkelweizen all thrown in for good measure. Their aim is, and has always been, to create a range that incorporates a little bit of something for everyone.

At The Whalley Wine Shop we’re certainly seeing the rise in popularity of Craft Beer first hand, with it being one of our fastest growing product categories. The future certainly looks bright for craft beer, that’s for sure;

“I believe the craft beer market is going from strength to strength because today unlike 5 or 6 years ago there is a real interest among consumers in where their food and drink is coming from and how it’s being made. Today the drinking experience starts way before the consumer gets to the bar, social media is awash with pages and groups dedicated to craft beer and a whole hobbyist community has sprung up keen to share and discuss the subject. Two or three years ago four blokes sat in a pub would be discussing the United/City game, today the conversation is dedicated to who’s drinking what and what they are having next; for a passionate brewer like myself it’s fantastic to see!” – Head Brewer, Carmelo.

We’re incredibly proud to be stockists of Northern Whisper beers and have the opportunity to get behind Lancashire’s own budding Craft Beer scene. If you’re ever passing the shop, call in and pick up one of their beers, or if you find yourself over by Rossendale, drop in to one of their ‘Tap Rooms’ and try it out from the guys themselves!


So what does the future hold for Northern Whisper Brewing Co.?

“The aim for the future is just to keep doing what we have been doing for the last 12 months and that’s to get more and more people drinking our beers at home and abroad. We intend to open more Tap Rooms going forward and want to keep things interesting by constantly introducing new and innovative beers.”