no. 030 | Pomona Island
Named after a now defunct strip of land between Salford and Manchester, Pomona Island’s beers are laced with the honesty and transparency of its four founders.
A city within a city, Salford in Greater Manchester is home to batch no. 030’s Pomona Island Brewery. Founded in 2017 by Nick, Ryan, James and Gaz, Pomona was established with a view to breathing new life into an already burgeoning, and rather exciting, craft beer scene in the north west. Brewing in a renovated warehouse on the banks of the Irwell River, Pomona’s name is heavily rooted in the city’s history and local idiosyncrasies. The river itself acts as a boundary between Manchester and Salford, and the grassy limbo that buffers the waterway is known as the island of Pomona. It was once a bustling dockland and, today, is considered a wasteland. Is it a metaphor? Perhaps. Nick elaborates slightly: “we’re watching local land get re-developed and subsequently renamed. This is our way of holding onto it”.
But he doesn’t stay serious or self-reflective for too long. As you might be able to glean from their can artwork, there’s a good dose of humour ingrained in the brewery’s DNA. That doesn’t mean that they don’t take their beers seriously though. Fervent craft enthusiasts, they aim to simultaneously celebrate tradition and push the boundaries of flavour and style. “We want our beers to have backbone”, says Nick. “Sometimes that means experimentation, but it always means we’re focusing on drinkability and quality”.
The team of 10 are not only based in the brewery, but across a couple of pub locations. The Gas Lamp combines fresh craft beer from Pomona with an enviable array of single malt whiskies, whilst the North Westward Ho pub quietly opened its doors in late 2023, much to the delight of residents of and visitors to Manchester city centre.
It’s a difficult subject to broach, but given the bleak news travelling across the craft brewing industry in recent months, we would be remiss not to touch on the difficulties of running a small brewery in 2024. Nick beats us to the punch when we ask what’s next for Pomona: “staying alive”, he quips. Rising costs, duty increases and a cost of living crisis are all upping the pressure for breweries like his. But he remains positive, as the team focus on creating their own demand via their sister pubs and continuing to drive direct sales via their online shop.
There’s always something satisfying about hitting a round number and we hope you enjoy your latest batch. For us, these beers are not just delicious, but capture a part of the people behind them – good humoured, honest and made of proper stuff.