As part of our planning, we knew that we needed a bigger building. Our converted mushroom shed wouldn’t be big enough to hold the new kit, let alone anything else. Fortunately, there was a derelict barn about 20 meters from our current building, and the land owner thought it would be a wonderful idea to bring new life to it with a new brewery.
We did think about some other locations on the site, but this was our first choice from when we first started our planning. So in went the planning application, and our funding application, and the wait began.
During the summer of 2016, we just managed to keep up with demand, but there were a few weeks when we could have done with another fermentation vessel. However, space is quite tight in the brewery, so we decided to wait for an opportunity of bigger premises, which soon presented itself. This summer (2017), despite a huge amount of hours, we really struggled to keep up with demand, but pulled through.
Along with keeping up supply, we had been working frantically on an expansion plan, "Phase 2". The main aim was to increase our brewing capacity from 5 BBL to 15 BBL, and we had to decide whether to buy 2nd hand kit, or (if we could afford it) to have a brand new, bespoke designed kit. We knew which option we preferred, so began a few weeks of research.
Thanks to Linda’s previous experience and knowledge of EU funding, we found a rather favourable option within the LEADER European Funding Programme. This allowed us to plan for a new bespoke brewery, rather than a used one. However, in deciding to apply for funding, there were certain criteria that we had fulfil, one of which was to obtain 3 like for like quotes.
After spending some time working out our requirements, we were able to create a technical specification for suppliers to quote for. The Kent Downs and Marshes LEADER Team were very helpful and supportive throughout the process of completing the application form, but it was still a time-consuming process with many revisions. However, this was eventually submitted in time for the September meeting.