Mark Yates, founder and head brewer at Connoisseur Ales in St Helens, sadly passed away earlier today. After many years of home brewing, in 2006 Mark became apprentice to Stan Shaw at the Wapping Brewery in Liverpool. It was from here that he began to brew under the name ‘The Connoisseur Brewer’ and his beers became a regular feature in Liverpool around 2007-2008.
A few years on and he secured the Albion pub in Warrington, which was suitable for housing a brewery, and he purchased the equipment of former Fenland Brewery of Ely. After a long and fruitless battle with planning, English Heritage and his landlords it became apparent that an in-house brewery wasn’t going to happen. However, the Albion still gained a reputation for it’s real ales winning CAMRA’s Cheshire Pub of the Year 2012 and Cheshire Cider Pub of the Year 2012.
In 2014, Mark’s focus has switched solely to the brewery and he secured a fantastic town centre location in his home town of St Helens. In September 2014, Connoisseur Ales was launched and brewing became a family affair with wife (Gillian) and son (Kevin).
Mark (and Gillian) were also regular supporters and volunteers at Wigan Beer Festival. Mark will be sadly missed by many.