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.