Even with local knowledge it’s not the easiest place to find…
Approach within a few feet of the location and you’ll still struggle to know you have arrived.
There’s a clue if the wind is blowing in the right direction otherwise Millstone Brewery remains an anonymous part of the Vale Mill complex off Micklehurst Road.
Owners Nick Boughton, 55, and 52-year-old Jon Hunt, however, are happy to be understated about their two-man operation because they know their product speaks for itself.
Three or four times a week they’ve got a brew on, all adding up to a quarter of a million pints of beer a year.
Not a bad effort from two middle aged blokes from the West Midlands who quit their day jobs around 15 years ago in search of a career change.
“We just thought it would be a good idea to do something different,” said Jon, by trade an engineer. “But it could have been anything.
“We might easily have ended up making widgets. In the end it just happened to be brewing beer.”
After scouring and rejecting sites in Saddleworth as location for their enterprise, the long standing pals settled on Vale Mill producing their first ale-Three Shires-in 2003.
Thirteen years later they are still going strong, content to shelve expansionist plans, to concentrate on keeping existing customers happy.
They now only sell to the free trade, don’t produce bottled beer and manage the entire business themselves apart from employing a part-time, weekly cask cleaner.
“I see Jon more than my wife,” laughs Nick. “We don’t want to be millionaires so we don’t over stretch ourselves.
“Both of us had mini apprenticeships before we started and we gave ourselves a two-year window to make it work.
“Do we drink our own beers? I might call in a few pubs to make sure it’s okay but we both probably drink less now than before we started.”
Millstone Brewery’s four percent Tiger Rut is constantly the flagship beer. True Grit at five percent is also regularly brewed together with a traditional dry stout.
Other beers in a the small but perfectly developed range are: Vale Mill, Three Shires and Grain Storm.
And if your palate is suitably whetted then the Rising Sun, Commercial and Britannia can quench the thirst in Mossley.
The Railway and ‘King Bill’ in Greenfield, the Diggle Hotel, the Royal Oak at the Heights plus the Heroes of Waterloo, Ashton and Stalybridge Station buffet bar also serve Millstone products.
Surprising what comes out of a former cotton spinning mill!