CIVIC dignitaries from across the region were treated to a look behind the scenes at a successful brewery.
Labour councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher invited dignitaries from across Durham, Sunderland and the Tees Valley to the Hartlepool-based Camerons Brewery, in Stockton Street.
Coun Akers-Belcher said he wanted to show off the “very best” that Hartlepool has to offer and to show that the town is very much open for business.
The 25-strong party was treated to a tour and historical tour thanks to brewery staff, before enjoying a buffet and a sample of the ale produced by Camerons Brewery.
Coun Akers-Belcher, who enjoyed a pint of Strongarm, said: “What I have always been very keen to do, as part of my role as chairman of the council, is to promote civic life but I was also keen to help promote the town as well.
“Camerons Brewery is a fantastic company with a great history and tradition.
“It has also brought a lot of jobs to the town and is a well known company and I was keen to show off the best of Hartlepool.
“We had a very interesting visit and Camerons Brewery really is doing Hartlepool proud.
“This was a great opportunity for me to show it off but it was also an opportunity for the civic dignitaries from across Durham, Sunderland and the Tees Valley to come together.
“We had a tour, lunch and then an opportunity to sample some of the produce.
“This was about talking the town up and making sure people know we are a town that is open for business.”
Councillor Brian Nelson, president of the national association of councillors, was also among the invited guests.
The group spent time touring the facilities and also the visitor centre, which is on the site of the former Stranton pub.
The visitor centre has interactive displays tracing brewing through the ages and the rise of the present company from its origins in 1865 when John William Cameron first entered the Lion Brewery.
It also offers an insight into beer production.
Coun Akers-Belcher praised the “knowledgeable” staff at the brewery for the tour and their hospitality afterwards.
He added: “The staff really know their stuff and it was a great visit.”
Marie-Louise McKay, of Camerons Brewery, said: “Camerons Brewery is one of the oldest businesses in Hartlepool and we were more than happy to show the civic dignitaries round the brewery.
“We received some very positive comments and I think they enjoyed their tour of the site.”
Coun Akers-Belcher has had a busy year as chairman of the council and has helped raise thousands of pounds for several town charities over the past 12 months.