I make it twenty-seven or twenty-eight or twenty-nine breweries in Kent, depending on where precisely you draw the boundaries, and I suspect that this is a number which has grown by a third in ten years. When googling breweries, I keep finding newspaper stories of hobbyists who want to take it to the next level, and I sometimes wonder if the current apparent boom in brewing (a thousand different breweries) is sustainable. Do people who like beer and have cash glimpse a gap in the market and invest unwisely? A boom will bust. What is now trendy will become old hat.
Thus spake Eeyore.
There has been a long history of takeovers and buyouts, so that what appear to be different brands are in fact Marstons or Whitbreads, and choice of beer has been more limited than it has appeared – Fuller’s or Gales’? Same difference? Plus it’s one thing to supply your own pub (The Black Cat, The Foundry, Farriers Arms etc), quite another to scale up to supply several pubs or produce sufficient beer for TesMorrRoseBury’s.
I don’t know precisely what is going on with The Royal Tunbridge Wells Brewery, but a Facebook post this morning stated “the brewery is currently shut. I have several options for the future of the brewery which I am pursuing. Plans are to be back up and running in due course.” I’m hoping that the brewery can continue.
The brewery is based in Tunbridge Wells (obviously – but then Whitstable isn’t in the Bubble) and started in 2010 as a collaboration between Simon Lewis and retired brewer Ian Dormon, from the previous Royal Tunbridge Wells brewery, closed 1983.
I’ve had a number of their beers – I think there was a green hop, but I’ve also had a Dipper (3.7%), a Royal (4.1%), a Beau (4.8%), a Helles (5%) and, most recently, a Golden Ticket (5%), I think my favourite. I hope they can continue in some form.