RTW Brewing Co.:
The Brewery has now been fully operational for 8 weeks now and complete with trial brews we have mashed in 9 times so far. The brewing has focussed on two beers with Royal Best Bitter and Sovereign Blonde being our badged beers. In the background the jobs have been all about getting the set up of the unit right. Office, Storage, Wet Areas, Cold Room, Lab space have all been as good as finished now. The key job for us know is to get out and see potential customers.
But before that it would be nice to outline how we got here. This has not just been thrown together you know!
The Royal Tunbridge Wells Brewing Company is a reincarnation of a business set up in the early 1980's and located in Grange Road in Rusthall. Ian Dormon was the owner and brewer. By pure coincidence during the summer of 2009 I was doind some work for a client when I was introduced to the guys down at the Forum and the Ragged Trousers. Conversations led to the fact that I was researching the set up of a microbrewery. Little did I know but Jason one of the owners was in fact Ian's son. All this of course led to a meeting with Ian and the chance to find out more about the old company as well as outline the plans for the new business.
That was last summer. Since then a ton of planning has gone into getting the brewery set up. I have spent time with numerous brewers across the country. All the way through the journey I have taken on board advice, learnings and general principles, 3 stood out; buy good equipment, spend money on getting a good floor (yeast will eat anything less than bullet proof concrete), buy as big a capacity as you can afford, I went for a 10 barrel brewlength.
The brew kit itself came from a company called ABUK. It is probably about 35 years old (now reconditioned). It was most recently used at Acorn Brewery in Barnsley (brewing award winning beer). Originally it was a Firkin Brewery, you can still see the name Dobbin on the side of the Hopper (or Grist Case). Brendan Dobbin is one of the brewing scenes legendary brewers and installers. On it's own it is a lovely bit of history, with it's new pannelling it looks almost as good as the day it was built.
During this time of planning, while talking to Ian about what I call the old days - the 80's, it started muy curiousity in the history of breing in RTW. I live up in St Johns and it is only around the corner that the impressive Culverden Brewery used to be located.