AN online beer delivery company in Bury is determined to champion the merits of northern brewers in lockdown.

Bosses at Beerhunter, based on the Peel Mills industrial estate, are launching their beer advent calendar for 2020.

And as part of their ‘Hoppy Christmas’ push they are paying tribute to the region’s craft ale specialists.

The likes of Greater Manchester’s Alphabet, Shindigger, First Chop and Joseph Holt, and Radcliffe’s own Brightside Brewery, are vying for space with UK favourites from Brewdog, Tiny Rebel and Siren.

Ryan Smith, Beerhunter’s founder, said: “What we want to do is bring small craft breweries to the masses.

“Since the trade-side of business for breweries has been heavily impacted due to Covid, we have been helping them with third party fulfilment and bringing them on board to help them transition into e-commerce.

“Our plan is to continue this going forward.”

The outfit was first formed by the Rossendale resident in 2015 and initially had a staff of just three.

Before then the company operated as WDS, a wholesale business, working with bars and restaurants since 2009.

And as the market evolved, Ryan and his colleagues became aware of the growing taste of craft ales among customers and Beerhunter was born.

Today the Chamberhall Street enterprise has a workforce of 20 and is sourcing brews from across the globe, with people’s tastes becoming ever more cosmopolitan.

Their advent range for this year not only celebrates the best of British but there are also gluten-free and world beer alternatives.

Ryan added: “We make it our business to stock the best beers from the UK and around the world, but a lot of those just happened to be brewed on our doorstep, here in the North West.”

He believes that the tax break - of up to 50 per cent - offered for smaller breweries has fostered their startling growth rate.