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Worker Bee: meet Jamie Scahill, the co-founder of Manchester Union Brewery

Jamie Scahill of Manchester Union Brewery is a Manc of many talents

Jamie Scahill is a man of many talents. He’s the co-founder of Manchester Union Brewery and Highest Point Festival and co-owner of long-running club night Funkademia. The 47 year-old Mancunian also works for Skiddle, runs a number of food and drink pop-up events and is a semi-retired international DJ. Jamie lives in Monton with his wife Rowan and 9 month old son, Seb. 

His Manchester Union has just achieved its crowdfunding target of £40,000 so from next month you’ll be able to get their lovely lager in cans. 

What got you started in your field of work?

“I worked part time in a record shop when I left school at 16 and just caught the bug of DJing and music. I saved enough money to buy my own decks and then started a few (very unsuccessful) club nights. In the 30 years from then to now I’ve had a few businesses all involving food, drink and/or music as well as travelling the world DJing.”

Funkademia at Mint Lounge 03-10-15

Who have been the biggest influences on your work?

“I’ve always been a self-starter as I worked in my mum and dad’s pub in Eccles from the age of 12 stocking the shelves and collecting glasses, then getting up and doing a paper round before school. I suppose I was influenced by my family as they ran their own business and I could see that you got out what you put in.”

What is your proudest achievement so far?

“Family aside, I would say getting Manchester Union Brewery off the ground. It took us four years from the ideation stage to drinking the first pint and there were times where we didn’t think it would happen. Right now, due to the COVID-19 pandemic we’re experiencing our biggest challenge, but we will come out of this stronger.

“If I can have two then co-founding Highest Point Festival from scratch is right up there too. A few years of smaller music events led to a festival with over 20,000 people and that makes me very proud!”

What does your typical day involve?

“Now is very different to three months ago. It usually starts when my son wakes up, currently 5.30am, then it’s a full day of zoom, slack, phone calls and nappies powered by plenty of caffeine. Spinning plates is how I sum up my life at the moment.”

How do you relax on your days off?

“I love running and Crossfit so I do a mix of these most days as I can turn my brain off for a bit which really helps. A proper day off will involve a nice walk with the family, a pint and a massive plate of food outside a pub.”

What is the best advice you have been given or can give?

“My memory is shocking but I’m sure I’ve been given some useful advice. From my early days of running club nights to starting businesses I’ve always seen ideas through to the end. I’m not the most confident person but I think deep down I believe in myself. So trust your instincts and if you think it’s right, then go for it. It’s ok to make mistakes. Just make sure you learn from them. Oh, and be nice to people, especially the horrible ones.”

If things hadn’t worked out, what else could you have seen yourself doing?

“I would be cleaning pools in Ibiza. Or is that the dream?”

Tell us one thing about yourself people might be surprised to hear…

“I’m one half of semi-famous DJ duo The Slammin Boys and along with my DJ ‘wife’ Mark Hogg I DJed at Ryan Giggs’ testimonial after party. As well as getting requests from Eric Cantona and David Beckham, Helena Christiansen requested a really bad tune to which we said ‘no way we’re not playing that’. She wasn’t happy and threatened to get her fella, Fabian Barthez, on us.”

Red or Blue?


If you could change one thing about Manchester, what would it be?

“The traffic. Please give us some more pedestrianised areas and green space.”

And finally, what do you love most about Manchester?

“The attitude of Mancs can’t be beaten. You can see it with the current situation. Everybody has come together and helped each other out.”

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