The art space at the building closed in 2023. Credit: Place North

Kirkstall Brewery takes on The Tetley

In the heart of Vastint’s Aire Park development, the former brewing headquarters will have its status as a “landmark of Yorkshire beer culture” returned, said the incoming tenant, which will operate the ground floor main bar and restaurant.

Tetley’s was at one time the world’s largest producer of cask ale, and its 1930s Art Deco HQ has in more recent years housed an art gallery, an arrangement that came to an end last year.

The letting to Kirkstall Brewery sits within wider plans by Vastint for a mixed-use development featuring 13,000 sq ft of workspace.

For now, the firm has the whole building to itself, and will aim to build a presence that lasts into the future as the rest of Aire Park comes on stream.

From May, Kirkstall said it will be operating The Tetley as a showcase of the very best of brewing in Leeds. It will feature beers from other breweries in the area, alongside brands from Kirkstall Brewery, Leeds Brewery and the group’s most recent acquisition, North. Kirkstall also plans to host a number of events at the historic building.

“It’s a tremendous privilege to bring Leeds’s most iconic brewery building into the Kirkstall fold,” said Steve Holt, Kirkstall Brewery’s owner and founder. “As a brewery that pays a great deal of respect to the history of brewing in the city, we believe we are the ideal custodians for the next chapter of this legendary building.”

Michael Cronin, head of portfolio at Vastint UK, the developer behind Aire Park and owner of The Tetley building, said: “Last year we outlined our ambitions to safeguard this iconic building for the next 100 years and have now submitted our plans to the council.

“Since we became custodians of the building, it was always our intention to keep it open until the restoration work got underway to bring this fantastic building up to 21st century standards. So, we’re thrilled to be welcoming Kirkstall Brewery to Aire Park and to be bringing one of the current generations of Leeds and Yorkshire breweries to a site which has played such a pivotal role in the history of beer making in the region.

“The Tetley will form the centrepiece of Aire Park, alongside the eight-acre public park and this collaboration will hopefully give the people of Leeds a small taster of what’s to come in the very near future.”

Holt added: “It really is the crown jewel of brewing history in Leeds, and we are deeply grateful for the opportunity to make it a landmark of Yorkshire beer culture once again.”

The Tetley is expected to reopen under Kirkstall’s management in May. Kirkstall is in expansive mode at present, following up the 2022 acquisition of Leeds Brewery with the rescue of brewer North earlier this year.

Working with the Whitelock’s team, KB – which operates seven other pubs across Leeds – is also taking on the leisure part of the Victoria Hotel’s redevelopment, a £7.5m 55-studio Urbanite student living scheme by Prescient and Asset Capital, backed by BLG Development Finance. Opening is inked in for September this year.

Student living will be built above the Victoria Hotel pub spaces, to be reopened by Kirkstall this year. Credit: planning documents

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