The Devon brewery staffed by people with learning disabilities

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A Devon brewery run by people who have learning disabilities is doing so well it is preparing to open a tap room.

Ivybridge Brewing Company began making beer around three years ago as a way of offering people work experience and meaningful employment.

It was set up by Simon Rundle when he recognised there was a need to provide meaningful work for people with learning disabilities while still creating what he says is a quality product.

According to the British Association of Supported Employment only 5.6% of people with a learning disability are in work. 

He said: "It ties in with this idea of people with learning disabilities being included in society. If they make a product, it's got to be equally good - if not better - than the products that are there already.

Volunteer Peter working at Ivybridge Brewing Company Credit: ITV

"We don't want a sympathy buy because you end up with one buy and not another one. People want to buy more of our beer because they taste it and they realise it's really good beer and that is core to what we are all about."

Some of the staff at the brewery are paid but most are volunteers. All profits from the business are ploughed back into the brewery. 

One volunteer Lauren says since she started volunteering at the brewery she has a renewed confidence.

The brewery has been so successful they're now opening a tap room Credit: ITV

"It's changed me really... I used to get really anxious and I stayed inside for three and a half years. I wouldn't leave the house or do anything, I would stay in all the time but this has helped me come and get out my confidence," she said.

In three months the brewery has produced around 5,000 bottles. Next year they say they hope to make as many as 30,000.