A £3 million deal to safeguard the future of Skipton’s flagship Copper Dragon Brewery – which went into administration just before Christmas – was expected today.

The brewery’s founder and managing director, Steve Taylor, is buying a 100 per cent stake in the company from administrators, who were called in “unexpectedly” by a High Street bank on the Friday before Christmas The rescue package follows the liquidation last November of the brewery’s sister company, Copper Dragon Estates Ltd, which owned the freeholds and leases on seven pubs.

Mr Taylor said the pub side of the business had made significant financial losses and was a drain on the brewery. The father-of-two also said the banking system had let him down badly and the past few months had been “tense and frustrating”.

But he said today’s breakthrough would safeguard the jobs of 55 staff, based at the £4.5 million premises on Snaygill Industrial Estate. And 10 new posts are expected to be created in the production department this year. The company’s popular bistro, which has been closed since January 4, was also expected to reopen tomorrow.

Mr Taylor, 50, a former Rolls-Royce engineer, said administrators were appointed because he refused to grant the bank an increased share of equity in his seven-year-old company and would not give up intellectual property rights.

He said that, before Christmas, he owned 75 per cent of the brewery, with outside backers owning the remainder, but under the new regime he will pay £3 million for the whole company.

Mr Taylor, who lives in Skipton, paid tribute to the “heartwarming” support from staff throughout the troubled period for the firm, which specialises in the production of traditional-style cask and bottled ale.

“With the outstanding support and understanding of every single member of staff, customers and suppliers, we have all worked tirelessly over the Christmas and new year period to get through and I’m delighted to say we are now back on track,” he said.

He said the brewery had expanded massively over 18 months after moving into a new base in November 2008.

“We were operating at optimum capacity at our old facility and required new premises and a larger brewhouse in order to expand from a micro brewer to a regional brewery,” said Mr Taylor. “We moved into our new £4.5 million brewery and bistro facility at a time when the world financial system was in crisis.”

The brewery, which was set up in 2002, announced a record year last September with a 50 per cent increase in annual turnover to £4 million.

“The last 12 months have seen our turnover increase with record levels of growth month on month. The bistro also continues to be an outstanding success so the future looks rosy,” said Mr Taylor. The company now has its sights set on supplying its beers to the North East and Midlands and is preparing to launch the new Freddie Trueman Ale to coincide with the unveiling of Skipton’s new statue in memory of the outstanding cricketer.

The brewery produces five hand-crafted cask ales and supplies over 2,000 pubs as well as major supermarkets and foreign markets as far afield as Australia and Russia.

Under the new arrangements, ownership of two pubs and leases on four more, including the Bluebell Inn at Kettlewell and the Cross Keys at East Marton, will be transferred to the Copper Dragon Brewery.