A MAJOR rethink at an East Lancashire brewery has put staff on course for an exciting 2020.

Managing director Lee Williams is seeing his turnaround plan for Moorhouse's, in Burnley, beginning to pay dividends.

His efforts since arriving in 2017, supported by the 25-strong team at the Brush Street brewery, have seen the historic firm convert a £275,000 loss into a £37,000 profit.

And for Lee, whose pedigree was already established with previous stints at Thwaites and Marstons, the key, in part at least, was to bring Moorhouse's back to its roots.

And after some "open and honest conversations" about their place in the north-west brewing world, he is keen to see the firm evolve for the 21st century.

Lee said: "In the first instance it was all about having a turnaround plan.

"Despite increasing sales here and a new brewery, this had not translated into bottom line success.

"So when I came in I was asked to see what we could do to make the brewery commercially successful and look to take it forward."

Perhaps surprisingly, given their reputation, with Black Cat named the nation's champion beer in 2000, and pints of Premier still whetting the appetites of connoisseurs, these are not their most profitable tipples.

Lee says in terms of sales Blonde Witch and White Witch now outstrip their heavier counterparts and this has inspired the company's experimental side.

Twelve thousand pints can pour out of the brewery in any one week but the capacity for innovation has driven their desires of late.

Their 'M' range, where single-barrel runs of up to 300 pints can be created, has already inspired several ambitious craft and small batch brews.

Mango Session and Tropical Crush IPAs, with Malkin Pale Ale, alongside Sabbath Flight, an American pale ale, have emerged as well as 'Cheeky Vimto' and rum porters, and coconut and mud pie stouts.

Their expertise has also been shared with up-and-comers like Rossendale-based Northern Whisper.

Lee added: "The way that people enjoy their beers has changed dramatically since 2000. It is all about evolving and listening to what our customers are telling us."

Bottled sales have also been given a lift with Moorhouse's reigniting their export reputation, in partnership with Blackburn-based Sovereign Beverages, by taking their range out to fans in Finland.