Ted Bruning, leading beer author, guides you through all the practicalities of starting up your own microbrewery; everything from how to brew right through to finding a place of your own.
This book rings bells that take me back 27 years to when my husband Mike and I went to the Great British Beer Festival at Alexandra Palace, where we first met “micro” brewers and were inspired to join their number.
We were lucky in already owning a building we could use on our farm in West Sussex, an area with plenty of free houses – no pub companies then! – and we started brewing in the old cowhouse in July 1980, with four pubs taking Ballards Best (and then only) Bitter. Many visitors found their way through the lanes to our farm and brewery, sometimes arriving via the chicken run! Every time someone bought a polypin of beer we were so thrilled we’d have some, too – luckily we didn’t have to drive home as we were there already.
Outlets built quickly, and by 1985 we moved to a larger building because we were selling our, by then, two beers to about 40 pubs. Nowadays we produce six draught and four bottle-conditioned beers all year round; we’ve moved again to larger premises (avoid moving if possible – it’s very traumatic!); and we’re supplying around 80 pubs and numerous shops and off-licences. We now produce 1,500 gallons of beer each week using malted barley milled on the premises, English hops, yeast and water. No sugars, colourings or additives are used except isinglass finings which settle the yeast sediment after brewing.
I’ve been involved in brewing for over 30 years; I ran our pub for three years; and I have sat on the council of the Society of Independent Brewers for 18 years. It was all a complete surprise, and I’ve loved almost every minute of it. There have been some tough times, and it’s hard work, but you have a very good chance of papering the walls of your brewery with awards won in numerous brewing competitions and beer festivals. You may receive letters from complete strangers saying your beer is the best they’ve ever tasted and where can they get more of it? Best of all, you will have the everyday satisfaction, denied to most of the population, not only of making a product with your own hands, but making a product specifically designed to give pleasure to you, and everyone who drinks it!
Ted Bruning has been well known for many years as a beer enthusiast and beer writer. In this excellent book his love of his subject and his experience come together to provide an agreeable and amusing routemap to becoming a fully-fledged commercial brewer.
This book will prove invaluable in helping you make up your mind to go for it, and guiding you towards success. I raise a pint to Ted Bruning, and to you.
By Carola Brown, Past President of the Society of Independent Brewers