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“We just want really good beer that everyone can drink” founder of Salford-based brewery Hideaway talks about his journey so far and what the future holds

Written by John O'Hara.
Posted June 4, 2024.
Dan Wright is the owner of Hideaway brewery
Dan Wright, owner of Hideaway

On the corner of Kansas Avenue in Salford, just a short walk from the centre of Media City, Hideaway brewery can be found. The craft beer brand was started during lockdown in 2020 by Dan Wright and began as a hobby originating from his garage, these days they occupy a large warehouse which contains a brewery and taproom. Less Hideaway, more here-to-stay.

Dan invites me to sit down in one of the booths along the side of the room, opposite there is a drum set, guitar and microphone next to an under-construction room which I’m later told will be a kitchen. The decor makes it feel less like a warehouse and more like a bar, Dan tells me that’s the point as he sits opposite me to talk about how things are going.

“When your business is doing well, you have people coming through the door, and you enjoy what you’re doing, no one is going to complain. I’ve always been a bit of a foodie, and I’m quite creative, my day job was always serious and so I wanted a creative outlet of some description and homebrew was one of those creative outlets.”

“We just set up really small and found people actually enjoyed what I was doing and then it kind of grew quite rapidly and that’s got us to where we are now, sat here today.”

“Getting all of this ready was a slog; blood, sweat, tears, broken bones, that kind of thing. To open it was good, but I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so every day we are still doing more, a bit of paint here, putting new things on the walls, we are just in the process of putting a kitchen in, every day you have to try to keep improving.”

“We don’t want people to think of us as a taproom in the traditional sense, so not benches in a warehouse, yes we’re in a warehouse but we’ve tried to kit it out, so it feels a little bit more bar like. We have a comedy night the first Thursday of every month, and have had some gigs here too. Once the food dynamic comes in, it will change the feel of the venue as well, and people will come for something to eat as well as a drink, so we won’t be relying exclusively on the entertainment.”

 I wanted to know what separates Hideaway from other Manchester craft breweries.

“Within this community, which is very close knit, there is an emphasis on doing your own thing. People will help you when you need it and you will help other people, but you want to always try to do your own thing. So, we don’t do our beers like a lot of other places, we try to be unique, as far as you can with beer.”

“The influence for ours is very much the American styles, we don’t really do any traditional style English beer. We do what I refer to as ‘cold and fizzy’ which really appeals to a lot of people, we’re not trying to be divisive and produce anything massive, we just want really good beer that everyone can drink.”

“Our best-selling drink, and also my favourite, is Tailgate West Coast IPA, it’s 5.6% and it is a little bit piney and a little bit like orange marmalade, so slightly on the bitter side. It is our flagship beer and really showcases what we are about here.”

The Brewery’s mascot, a fox with sunglasses on called ‘Rusty’ was named so due to the rusty waters of the Bridgewater canal, which runs near to Dan’s home where the Brewery first began. I wanted to know then the reason behind the brand’s name, Hideaway.

“In lockdown my wife was pregnant, and it was a tough time, so sometimes I found myself hiding away in the garage, where I began brewing. It was sort of my getaway from the everyday stress, I was looking for jobs and it was my means of being able to have my own space for a couple of hours and let my wife work, as she was working from home at the time, rather than bother her.”

“I’d do a bit of work in the day and try to find a job, and then in the afternoon I’d go through to the garage, so it was my hideaway.”

The beer is available in a few select bars around Greater Manchester, with Dan always keen to expand their distribution network.

“Worsley Stores have always been a massive supporter of ours, and they were actually our very first trade customer, we also have other places In Monton, Swindon, Ramsbottom and Harwood. So, there’s lots of different places and we are constantly getting new ones all the time, which is great for us and means people can experience what we have to offer.”

“Over the next decade or so I imagine we will be doing something similar to this, just with more people coming to the taproom and experiencing our beers. We want Hideaway to be a known brand over the bar, we want people to recognise the name.”

Finally, I asked Dan what he would say to someone looking to get into brewing their own craft beer.

“Welcome to the club! It’s an interesting, rewarding, expensive hobby and it is a challenging business to get into, but if you’ve got it in you then go for it!”