SMALL breweries across Kirklees are getting a helping hand online.

At a time when many pubs face closure, two former Honley High School pupils have launched an internet venture selling real ale on behalf of Britain’s micro-breweries.

Edward Turner and Richard Burhouse have set up to bring together a vast array of real ale products from many of the UK's micro-breweries – and provide them with a platform to showcase their lovingly crafted liquid offerings.

“Living in Huddersfield, its difficult to avoid great beer,” said Richard. “Huddersfield has a thriving real ale scene – possibly unsurpassed in the UK – with at least five pubs in the town centre offering up to 10 guest ales at anyone time.

“The wider West Yorkshire can also boast the largest number of breweries in the nation – 34 at the last count.”

Said Richard: “The UK is to real ale what France is to wine – it’s our national product. At a time when the brewing industry is in decline and affecting so many lives in a negative manner, we should be shouting from the rooftops about the UK's products and championing the passionate and highly dedicated brewers who not only contribute to the economy, but greatly enrich the nation’s cultural and regional diversity.”

With the website, micro-breweries get the opportunity to showcase their locally-produced ales to a wider audience

At the same time, the consumer is presented with a plethora of diverse, unique and interesting real ales which they may never have heard of nor had the opportunity to sample.

“Our research has shown that real ale is one sector of a struggling market which is showing continued year-on-year growth,” said Edward. “It’s a sector which is also becoming increasingly popular with a newer, younger market, frustrated by the lack of choice among beers on offer in the usual outlets.”

The duo, who have teamed up with more than 40 UK micro-breweries – and has already had enquiries from ex-pat communities in Scandinavia, France, Spain and even the Bahamas.

Another innovative idea from the two friends is the 52 Week Beer Club – a real ale subscription-based service that delivers a seasonal selection of 52 hand-picked real ales from around the country straight to the door of the consumer.