It’s nearly six years since we launched Harbour Brewing Co. and in that short space of time we’ve seen the UK’s craft beer market explode into something unrecognisable, both in size and diversity of products. Back then I didn’t think it would be commercially viable to brew some the styles of beers that are now thriving in the UK market, and I didn’t think for a second that a Mango Lassi Milkshake IPA would exist, either. Many of these styles we have always wanted to make but have either lacked the capacity for them, or have been somewhat anxious about allowing rampaging yeast strains loose in our brewhouse. The only answer to this is to build another brewery for it, so that’s exactly what we’re going to do!
We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved at Harbour Brewing Co. in our relatively short existence. We are still a comparatively small team of 13 staff, but we have already achieved beer sales on 5 continents, and we’re lucky to work with some of the best distributors, bars, and restaurants in the UK. In Stuart Howe, our head brewer, we have an amazing talent, whose attention to detail and quality is second to none, as we hope those who have recently tried our core beers would agree. For the past 12-18 months we’ve concentrated on ensuring the beers we make day, in day out are as good as they can be. We make a lot of lager now; Lager, Helles and Pilsner. You have to get these styles right, and that takes time, skill and patience. Fortunately, these are qualities Stuart has in abundance and ones that he has instilled across our entire team.
Our focus on quality and consistency led to the installation of a new 50hl brewhouse in 2016. Since then we have added; a Centrifuge, new DE filtration, a new canning line, new CT’s, upgraded the lab, and we are just about to install our 22nd new fermentation vessel. So we haven’t been slacking. From our original brewhouse (which is now being caressed and cajoled by Theo at Deya) to our current position, we’ve taken a considered approach to laying business foundations for our future growth. We’ve worked hard (with a lot more hard work still to come), but I feel it’s time to inject some more fun and allow ourselves a little more time for creativity.
In 2018 we will be installing another brewhouse on a small farm we have acquired especially for this project. This purpose built 10,000sqft building will house a fully automated 5BBL ABE Brewhouse, Coolship, Stainless FV’s & CT’s, Amphora, Wood and Concrete fermenters, Foudres, lots and lots of barrels, and of course, our first proper Taproom.
In addition to the brewhouse, we’ll be adding a new member to our team; the amazingly creative James Rylance. There’s a good chance many of you reading this will know James, or at least have heard of him. He cut his brewing teeth with The Kernel, then helped a little brewery called Beavertown get off the ground, before leading the Redchurch Urban Farmhouse for the past three and a half years. James was seeking a more sedate life outside of the big smoke at exactly the same time as we started looking for a creative brewer. A fortuitous conversation became an idea, which has kicked off a whole new chapter for Harbour Brewing Co.
The plan is to be open and brewing by mid-April, specialising in small batch production, with creativity at its core. We’ll experiment with some imperial stouts and IPA’s, but this brewery is more about experimenting with process, allowing natural yeast to develop, working with less predictable ingredients, and also allowing time as an added, but essential ingredient. We’ll be looking outside the traditional brewing world for inspiration, from viticulture and oenology, to Kombucha brewing and spirit distillation. Cornwall has an amazing microclimate with perfect growing conditions, so we’ll also be planting up our land. Fruit trees, herbs and other ingredients that we can use in our beer, as well as capturing wild cultures unique to our farm. This will allow us to make beers that are completely individual and continuously evolving with the microflora of our environment.
For now, thank you to everyone who has joined us on the ride so far but there is plenty more to come. It’s time to start the next phase of Harbour Brewing Co.’s journey …