Beer and bees create a buzz in the Baltic

In the latest Baltic Triangle Podcast, Cains’ head brewer hails the revival of an iconic Liverpool brand and John Fenn talks about his novel fusion of beekeeping and glass blowing. Tony McDonough reports

Cains Beer
Cains Brewery first opened in Liverpool in 1858 and is now being revived


Cains Brewery is back up and running in Liverpool for the first time in almost a decade in a venture that will create around 40 jobs.

Head brewer and general manager Andrew Hayes has told the latest Baltic Triangle Podcast about his excitement about the new era for the brewery. He is keen to see the beer being served once again in Liverpool’s pubs.

This month’s edition of the podcast also features John Fenn. He has returned to his old trade of glass-blowing after a 35-year break. John talks about how he is combining honey from his own bees with glass to create works of art.

In the last few weeks hospitality business Mikhail Hotels & Leisure Group has revived the Cains beer brand. Robert Cain first brewed the famous ale back in 1858 at what is now Cain’s Brewery Village. 

Despite the best efforts of entrepreneurs Sudarghara and Ajmail Dusanj, the brewery in Stanhope Street closed in 2013. However, they did successfully create Cains Brewery Village, now home to multiple leisure venues.

Now Cains’ beer itself has been brought back to life. Andrew Hayes, an experienced brewer, is overseeing the return of the famous beer. He told the podcast: “It is very important for us to be in this venue. Cains Brewery Village is brilliant and is exactly what Liverpool needs.”

Andrew explained the balance that needed to be achieved for the new venture to succeed. He added: “What we have created is a very modern venue. But we have been careful to keep a lot of the old parts of the building how it was.


John Fenn
Glass blower John Fenn, founder of the Liverpool Bay Hot Shop


“There is a big weight of responsibility in bringing Cains back. We have incorporated the old brewery because we want people to remember Cains but also come to see what is a modern venue.”

Among Mikhail’s venues is the Brewery Tap bar in the brewery village and Doctor Duncan’s close to St George’s Hall. Andrew said: “Getting the beers back in those pubs is really important. It is where they should be.”

John Fenn started his career in glass but, as a young man, he suffered lead poisoning. This had such a debilitating effect on him to the point where he had to change career. He spent a number of years working as a welfare advisor for the Citizens Advice Bureau. However, since retirement, he has revived his old trade.

He enrolled on a glass-blowing course in Wiltshire and amazed the tutor with how quickly he was able to show his skills. Now he runs the Liverpool Bay Hot Shop in Northern Lights in the Baltic district. He offers glass-blowing courses and produces works of art with a very novel approach.

John explained: “I also keep bees. I had some leftover honey that I didn’t want to go to waste so I decided to try infusing the honey with the glass. No one has done this before and it has started a chain of events.”

To listen to the full interviews with Andrew Hayes and John Fenn on the Baltic Triangle Podcast, click here.

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