Tavy Ales was started in May 2012 by husband and wife Mark Smith and Janna Sanders, along with Janna’s brother Nathan. After 15 years of working in international television news, Mark and Janna were looking for a change of career to allow them to spend more time at home together in Devon and less in the disaster areas and war zones of the world. Mark had been harbouring a desire to start brewing real ale for some time and a close shave with a snipers bullet in Libya last year made him finally realise it was time to get a new day job. Janna’s brother Nathan had been full mash brewing at home for many years and, excited at the prospect of making grown-up beer for a living, willingly came onboard. Recession, what recession?
Nathan and Janna both grew up in Tavistock, Devon and wanted the brewery name to have a strong link to the area. It seemed fitting that the new business should be inspired by the river that gave name to the town and also the village of Peter Tavy that Janna and Mark now call home.
The River Tavy rises high up on Dartmoor – wild and beautiful, it is one of the most loved rivers in the National Park. Its journey is one of contrasting landscapes, across isolated and bleak moorland, down through the magical steep-sided valley of Tavy Cleave and then past farmland and mine workings to the ancient stannary town of Tavistock. The river continues to flow another 14 miles down to the wooded and peaceful world where it meets the River Tamar, the grand frontier with Cornwall, and finally joins the sea at Plymouth.
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