Ale and gin bar owners set sights on next business expansion

By November 8, 2022News

One of the success stories for the 2021 awards was Casked Ale and Ginporium and now, with two flourishing bars under their belt, owners Mike and Amanda Jones are already eyeing up their next venture.

In 2017, after extensive research, they opened in Rawtenstall, on Bury Road, creating a micropub, which two years later they expanded into the adjacent property more than doubling the space. From 70 customers, overnight they suddenly had 150.

When the pandemic left hospitality businesses fearing for their future, the couple followed the lead of a Hebden Bridge brewery and began offering beer in a bag, similar to a wine box; it was a huge hit and ensured they covered their expenses until they could reopen.

At last year’s Rossendale Business Awards, organised by Valley at Work which connects and supports local businesses, Casked won the Hospitality Business trophy and was Highly Commended for the top Valley at Work title.

Amanda said: “The awards came as a complete shock as we honestly didn’t expect anything and then we got two.

“In October 2021 we opened a second Casked in Prince Street, Ramsbottom, in a former restaurant The Lounge.

“We got the keys in the June and transformed it in four months, we don’t hang about. We have spent £100,000 on each of the bars from our own savings and pension.”

Casked was originally set up as Mike likes cask ales and Amanda likes gin and they wanted a place that catered for their tastes.

Both bars have a piano, which customers are welcome to play, acoustic artistes play on a weekend, quizzes are regularly held and in Ramsbottom pizza is served.

Amanda said: “We are currently in talks about opening a third. We have seen somewhere in Lancashire but it is top secret. We have just started negotiations and it will not be available until next year, but then we only expand every other year.

“Life is about taking chances and, if the opportunity comes along and we think it will work out, we will take it. If you sit still, you lose ground.

“We would love to open a hotel in Rossendale, it is the one thing that is really lacking.”

Mike was a manager for Irwell Works Brewery, Ramsbottom, and Amanda is a qualified make-up artist and nail technician and used to manage an estate agency. She is also an artist and her paintings adorn the walls in both bars.

Like all businesses, Casked has seen a huge increase in electricity costs – from £1k-£1.5k a month for both premises to £1k a week; but Amanda said they had already budgeted for the increase.

Ramsbottom Casked is managed by Claire Norris, who used to run The Major with her brother, and Rawtenstall is managed by Luke Whittaker. Both premises operate on a card only/no cash basis.

She added: “Most of our staff are people who are known to us or are regulars. We treat everybody as we would like to be treated and being nice to people, brings nice people into our premises.” To nominate for this year’s awards visit https://r-awards.co.uk/

The presentation evening will be held on Wednesday November 30 at The Ashcroft in Whitworth.


The busy Casked Ale an Ginporium in Rawtenstall.

Award winners Mike and Amanda Jones, owners of Casked Ale and Ginporium. Photo Liz Hall from Liz Henson Photography

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