VIBRANT EXPANSION - WEEK 5 PROGRESS

Hello and welcome to the week 5 progress report. This week has seen our flooring company make excellent progress in just 2 days. They have been digging the drainage channels within unit 6 (the brewery) and out in to the car park to enter the mains sewer. At the rate they are going all the channels will have been dug and laid by Tuesday this week coming. Marvellous! The floor can then have a concrete screed applied which falls to the central stainless steel drain channel. More on this in the coming weeks

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Let sawing commence

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Dig this

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Escape to victory

The offices in unit 3 are just about complete and telephone lines should be installed this week. It won't be long before we can work from these new offices while the brewing continues in Lymington.

Our new beast of a chiller arrived on Friday and this has enough “juice” to power far more than what we need it for at the moment but once we have our cold rooms built the chiller will utilise this extra capacity. Also, we can add more fermenting tanks without concern over the cooling capacity

At some point the cooling pipework inside the brewery will need to be installed and connected to the chiller.

1.2 tonnes of “cool”

Well, that’s it for yet another week. Feel free to add your comments below. Much appreciated

Cheers

Kevin Robinson

Founder, Vibrant Forest Brewery



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VIBRANT EXPANSION - WEEK 4 PROGRESS

Another week has simply flown by and we are another step closer to completing the necessary works at our new brewery site. This week has seen the offices and toilets in the new taproom nearing completion and the building of our new lab/office in the packaging room has begun. The electricians have been busy with a whole bunch of wiring but there is plenty more to do as we need to provide “juice” to our new chiller which arrives next week. We also need to feed our brewery equipment. We have 4 electricity meters (1 per unit) so fortunately we have enough power requirements. We all love vast electricity bills, right?!

While the building work was going on I have spent a fair bit of time planning our new taproom with the help of Brian, our current taproom manager, and our graphic designer, Will. We spent Thursday morning discussing how the new taproom should look and what sort of bar set up we want. We cannot hope to open our new taproom with all ideas nails but instead it will be an evolutionary approach. Yesterday I was firmly strapped to a scissor lift painting the walls of our taproom! 9 hours later the room is looking a lot better.

Hopefully we will have some concepts to share with you shortly but in the meantime we will continue to develop our new community space in the background. At some point we will be closing our current taproom and concentrating 100% on our new one to give it the love it needs. More news on this soon. Oh, in case you did not know we have created a Facebook page for our taproom and this will be best place to follow all these developments and not duplicate them here

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The sales team office and my office are nearing completion

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Our new bar may occupy this spot

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You missed a bit mate

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After a hard day of painting I clearly deserved the first beer in our future taproom!

This coming weeks plans:

  • Work starts on the brewery flooring

  • New chiller arrives. It is a bit of a beast!

  • Fire alarms in all 4 units are installed

  • Further work on the offices, toilets and lab

  • Loads of odd and ends

That’s it for this week folks and thanks as always for reading and see you shortly…

Cheers

Kevin Robinson

Founder, Vibrant Forest Brewery.

THE NEW VIBRANT TAPROOM IS COMING...

What’s on earth is going on? What is this Taproom nonsense?!!

Vibrant Forest Brewery is on the move. That means there will be a brand new taproom for you to be able to get hold of our wonderful beers and drink them as fresh as is possible in our new place or take them away and enjoy at home. There will be far far more room compared to what we have now in Lymington.


Why bother with the move? This sounds like major hassle and expense to me!

We simply cannot brew enough of our beers at our current site in Lymington and have room to store them at the existing brewery to keep up with demand. We have nowhere near enough room. It is not possible to expand at the current site so a new place was sought, for some time, then a wonderful location was found. The hassle will be worth it, yeah :-)


Where is it? Tell me!

The new brewery and taproom is in Hardley Industrial Estate, south of Southampton, very close to the Totton to Fawley main road (A326). It is bounded by the New Forest National Park on its south-eastern border just a few miles south of Hythe. If you like walking/cycling and beer then you will hopefully be pleased to know the brewery backs on to the open New Forest.

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How do I get there?

Car: The taproom is about 12 minutes drive from Totton (7 miles) which is easily accessible from the M3, M27 and M271.

Bus: There is a very regular bus service (Bluestar *9 every 20 minutes) from the railway stations at Southampton Central (40 minutes) and Totton (30 minutes) which runs until late evening. Then it is just a few minute’s walk from the Hardley Roundabout bus stop. This service can also be connected to via the Hythe Ferry that sails from Southampton Town Quay and also runs well into the evening. The bus from Hythe only takes 5 minutes or you can take your bike on the ferry and then cycle less than 3 miles to the taproom in about 12-15 minutes, depending on how thirsty you are. Our new location is literally about 100 metres from the New Forest boundary and there are plenty of off-road cycling options as well. More detailed information on transport options will be published soon. If you live in the area then you could have skipped this bit I guess

We are currently planning our new taproom right now and 
shall have more news shortly. It will probably be a little bit good. We hope so anyway.

Cheers!


Links:

Bluestar bus: https://www.bluestarbus.co.uk/services/SQ/9…

Hythe Ferry: http://hytheferry.co.uk/

VIBRANT EXPANSION - WEEK 3 PROGRESS

Just a quick post this week as there is not too much to report....things are still going well but we did have a very slight scare with our water pressure……


This week there has been progress with the offices and toilets in unit 3 (new taproom space) and we now have LED lighting in 3 of our 4 units. Yep, proper modern and energy efficient lighting!

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Unit 4 will be for the storage of all packaged beer (2 x cold rooms) and the mezzanine floor will allow us to maximise this space (we have up to 7M of height in each unit). The lads have started insulating the underside of mezzanine floor so we don't need to worry about this when we install the 2 cold rooms at some point in the future. Fire proofing the mezzanines is also fully under way. At some point soon we need to look at the fire alarm requirements in each unit. Definitely one of the many unexpected costs I am discovering!

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Work on the brewery drainage in unit 6 was meant to start tomorrow but unfortunately it has been delayed by about 10 days due to the supply of parts. Fortunately, this has no big impact as the other works can continue as normal. We had an issue with the water pressure in unit 6 (the brewery, panic panic and panic!!) but fortunately after some investigation by our plumbers a stop cock 6 foot in the ground was not fully open. Phew! Problem solved.

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It is business as usual still in Lymington and this week saw the launch of Metamorph - a pale ale brewed in collaboration with The Butchers Hook for their 5th birthday. We are super pleased how this turned out and it has been getting some great reviews.

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That is it for now.. I hope you have a great week and feel free to add any comments below.

Cheers all

Kevin Robinson

Founder, Vibrant Forest Brewery Ltd

VIBRANT EXPANSION - WEEK 2 PROGRESS

It is the now the end of week 2 and our relocation works are progressing nicely and at this point I would like to spend a little time to look back at a few things...

When I started this brewery in my garage back in 2011 I could not even begin to imagine the rather exciting position we are now in. What was once a little part time business winning many local awards (and apparently making lots of folk happy!) is now a very serious business taking its second major step.

It has been almost 5 years since I started brewing at our current site in Lymington and we have grown organically and steadily and have always focused on quality. I never have had ambitions of running a large brewery and this is still the case today. We ran out of room at our current site a couple of years ago and have had a second location quite close by for storage purposes. The area of our current site is far from industrial and therefore trying to find additional premises on the same industrial estate has been impossible. The few premises that became available were quickly bought by (wealthy?) individuals for their own recreational use while us as a business simply wanted to do business. Isn't this the purpose of industrial units?! Anyway, hard luck. After a long search process I think we have finally nailed it and found what I believe to be both a much better location and nicer premises than anything else I had seen during the painful search. Perhaps this is fate.

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The original 1 barrel setup from my garage was used for the first few months in Lymington while waiting for the new shiny stainless kit to arrive




When I was looking to move from my garage back in late 2013 Gordleton Industrial Park was the only site I found that had a suitable industrial unit for rent during the search. The New Forest national park is a far cry from a “vibrant” beer scene, the total opposite in fact. This is one of the reasons we have never done that much trade locally, with most establishments preferring traditional and probably cheaper beer. Also, a lot of pubs are very restricted with the beer they can purchase. We do have some local outlets and I thank them very much for supporting us over the last few years. Please get in touch if you want to know who these good folk are. We simply have had to sell to the markets which wanted our modern beer. The phrase “support local” was not really applicable to us except for a handful of places that did take our beer. To survive and grow we would have to sell elsewhere and that is exactly what we did. You were (and still are) more likely to see our beer in Bristol or London than a typical New Forest pub. Of course, we also have many good customers in nearby cities such as Southampton and Portsmouth. There are some smashing folk in the Lymington area and it is such a lovely area to work. It will be missed.

Local folk may not find our beer as much as they might want to but there has been one mighty thing during our time in Lymington – the folk who have regularly visited (and therefore supported) our little shop and bar at the brewery. You know who you are and I send you a massive “thank you”. Personally, this has been one of the most rewarding aspects within the business and I cannot imagine a day when this stops being the case. Jolly folk have been making the effort to visit our cold industrial unit on a dark Friday night in the colder months for many years now. They could easily walk to and sit in a cosy pub and sup a pint there so why have they been coming to visit us? Surely, it has to be the beer and atmosphere of a working brewery, right? Those people I am forever grateful and even though we do not take much revenue through our bar (that location thing again as well as lack of public transport) it has given me great personal pleasure. At our new site in Hardley we are planning to have major focus on a new taproom and we shall shortly be appointing a member of staff to manage this. With a dedicated unit for the taproom (goodbye days of ducking out of the way of a forklift or malt bins!) things will be a lot better. We have more room and can have permanent seating and can easily accommodate people while brewing and packaging is happening in another unit. We also have very good public transport at our new site so I see no reason why we cannot make our new taproom the popular place it deserves to be. I hope those that have regularly supported our current taproom can come visit us as often as they can, and of course, we will have a whole new bunch of (hopefully) thirsty beery people in the Waterside area. We will of course talk more about our tap room plans at a later stage.

There is one heck of a lot of stuff going on right now and we of course have to maintain our focus on producing great beer at current site while also managing the relocation #challenging
So, on this note, let's see what has happened during week 2 at our new site…

  • The two mezzanine floors have been built, nearly doubling our storage space in each unit

  • A concrete base outside the brewery unit has been built for our new and rather hefty chiller system

  • Electrical work has started (we finally have electricity meters!)

  • Basic plumbing in the brewery area

  • Application for a premises licence has been submitted to the council (for our taproom)

  • I have just cycled to the new brewery in an attempt to get fit again!! Seriously :-)

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Mezzanine floor #1

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Mezzanine floor #2

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Future cold room space on mezzanine #1

That is it for this week folks. See you this time next week and thanks for reading :-)

Kevin Robinson

Founder, Vibrant Forest Brewery Ltd

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Kevin Robinson
Vibrant Expansion - Week 1 progress

It is the end of week 1 and most of the of the work has been to fix the waterproofing sheets on to the walls in unit 6 which is the production area. This is one of the priority jobs because our drains and lovely new flooring cannot be installed until the wall protection is complete.

When I say lovely new flooring I am talking about a Kemtile floor! We are investing significantly by opting for what many breweries have told me is one of the best hygienic floors available right now. I have heard far too many horror stories of cheaper resin floors that have not lasted and having to later lay a new floor in a busy production environment is something I would rather avoid at all costs! More on the floor in the coming weeks though…..

Work also started on building the offices and toilets in the taproom.

Next week works begins on our two mezzanine floors and hopefully our electrician turns up as well

Not much else to report this week and seeing it is after 5pm on a Friday it is clearly time for a beer. Cheers all and drink good beer!

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Kevin Robinson
Vibrant Expansion 2019

Kevin Robinson

Founder, Vibrant Forest Brewery

WE ARE MOVING AND EXPANDING PRODUCTION!

You may have seen on social media recently our exciting announcement stating we are moving the brewery to a new and much better site on Hardley Industrial Estate. With this move, we are also expanding production straight away.

Work began this week in our new units in Hardley and our project plan states the building and installation works will take until the end of March at least, assuming everything goes to plan (does that ever happen?!) Over the course of this exciting Vibrant expansion and relocation I shall be blogging the progress up until the point where the new brewery is up and running. Unfortunately I did not do this when I moved out of my garage at home late 2013 to take the brewery full time and “give it a go”. This time will be different.

Once the major building work is complete we have the task of moving our existing brewery equipment over from our current site and installing this in to position. How we do this, is work in progress, and the aim to have as little brewing downtime as possible. We are brewing flat out right now to factor this in.

We recently posted on social media our intentions within our new home and here is recap in case you missed it:


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Our 4 new units are numbers 3,4,5 and 6 and are currently empty shells as they have just been built. We do not even have electricity meters at the moment. The units will be split as follows:

Unit 3: Taproom, barrel store and offices

We will be be putting a big focus on the taproom and even though the opening times have not yet been decided we will certainly be open a lot more than now. We want to make this an attractive place to visit and enjoy our beer and this will take time to develop. We finally have space to focus more on our barrel ageing projects and as you may know this is something we are extremely passionate about. You can look forwards to the likes of Reggae Oktober once again. With this new space we also have quite a large yard outside and this will allow us to hold a lot more events at the brewery.

Unit 4: Cold room storage on 2 levels. All our casks, kegs, cans and hops will be kept cold to help retain their freshness

Unit 5: Storage, packaging area and laboratory. 2 levels.

Unit 6: The brewery. We are investing heavily in this unit to make it wet area suitable for brewery use. e.g. a tiled sloping floor with hygienic drains and waterproof walls. We have 2 x 6000L fermenters and a new 8000L hot liquor tank already built and ready for delivery as soon as the floor is ready.

We will use and move our equipment from our current site to our new site and utilise the new equipment specified in unit 6 above. This will greatly increase capacity as we will be able to triple brew in to the new 2 big fermenters *

* We are currently able to brew up to 2000L of beer per brew so if we have vessels which are 6000L then we have to brew 3 times back to back to fill them

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More news (and photos!) very soon

Kevin RobinsonComment
15.12.18 BREWERY XMAS PARTY

Our annual Christmas Party is back! Shoddy music, tidy food, and splendid Vibrant Forest Beers! 

Expect a bunch of new releases, as well as old favourites - it's always a solid event. 

Beer list to follow! 

Free entry, child friendly, dog super-friendly.

11am to 7pm at the brewery.