Chopps Scales Up... Four Priests Brewery

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chopps

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Hi All,

I've wanted to share this for a little bit but I needed to be sure it was going ahead before I got too excited.
I also wanted to make sure @Chippy_Tea and @Angie were OK with me posting, as it is a commercial venture. So thanks for supporting me Admins!
Let me tell you a little story.

This hobby of ours has become a bit of an obsession for me. I've only been a member here for a few years, but was a lurker for many before that. Here I have met a fantastic group of like minded beer lovers and brewing nerds and this place is probably my most visited website after Google.

When @Obadiah Boondoggle and me started the malt group buy, we discovered a local brewing community in South Cheshire that we didn't know existed. There are 14 or more of us locally and we share, collaborate and learn from each other and most importantly we are now good friends. This local group extends into some of the more distant group buy members, some even with small commercial breweries.

We've talked in the group about the dream of starting a real brewery and there are differing opinions on this. "You can't make money at a small scale", "why would you turn an enjoyable hobby into a chore", "I haven't got the skills", "I couldn't risk the day job". Reality bites when you have a mortgage, car payments and other obligations and it remains a fantasy. But I still really wanted to have a go. So I started to put a bit of cash aside, just in case I could create an opportunity some time.

In October, one of our local gang let me know that a brewpub in the next town along had changed hands, and the new owner was refurbishing the back room that was formerly the pub's brewery as he no longer wanted to brew, so I went to see him. The timing was perfect. It was a Friday night and he told me that the builders were coming in on Monday to knock the wall through from the pub side to the brewery and he needed the 2BBL kit out before then. He would have ended up having to pay them to rip it out, so a very very good deal was made and I agreed to have the kit gone by Sunday opening time. With no lorry, no storage and tonnes of steel to move.

I set about trying to find a storage container and a means of transport and had that sorted by Saturday morning, along with a crew of forum members and local brewers to help me get it moved on Sunday. And so now it's in storage at a haulage yard nearby.

And since then I have been looking for a space to brew, with the right planning use, the right utilities and drainage and at a rental price that can sustain a 2BBL kit.
I have a full time career already, I don't need another weekday occupation right now but I have a supportive family and a 21 year old with plenty of time on his hands too. And so I don't need an income from it. It just needs to cover its costs to begin with and we can decide how or if to grow it after that.

At that 2BBL scale, a couple of Saturdays brewing and a couple of Sundays packaging means I can keep some separation from my job and not risk being seen to be moonlighting. The head of HR at my employer is onboard with me doing this part time too, I've kept it very transparent with them.

I've found a 450 sq.ft unit now and just need to sign the lease. I have set up a limited company and I have a long list of stuff to do before we can think about mashing in. And then 14 casks a month will sustain our little weekend venture.

My vision is that the brewery may become the centre of our local homebrewing group. I'd love it to have the gang down to brew on the 'big' kit on Saturdays, do some bottling together, stick a big telly up with the football/rugby/F1 on and have a regular team brew day. The ability to brew recipes created by the crew at scale and sell them is a very exciting prospect. Can't promise salaries and company cars at this stage but that's not the point. I had considered seeking external finance, from family, or our local brewing group and even a crowd funding campaign but then there's pressure to deliver a return. I think I can cover it if I'm not too proud to insist on the shiniest newest gear and I'm prepared to make and repair what we need.

Obadiah and I have also talked about doing things for the benefit of the community too. I'm quite sure that there are guys and girls in the area that just need a break from personal life challenges, and to have a regular opportunity for them to come and chill out, stir the mash and be somewhere else for a day would be just fantastic.

After we get cask going, I'm still thinking about how to package for retail - bottles, cans, mini-kegs. and where to sell it - makers fairs, home delivery, website etc. But that's phase 2 and very much dependent on getting that trade business up to 14 casks first, and whether my family want to take on the burden too.

Thanks for reading - I'll keep this thread updated and I'll make a few videos of the progress for those that want to follow along.
I posted a couple already and since harrybrew69 'bigged me up' on his channel, I think I'll have to make a few more now...

Four Priests Brewery


Like, Subscribe and ding my bell :)
 
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MickDundee

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Well done. And what a stroke of luck getting hold of the kit for the cost of removal - Are you going to make the new pub your first customer?
 

anders

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Saw you getting a mention on Harry's video last night so had a look and subbed to your channel. Looking forward to seeing how things progress and wish you lots of luck!!
 

Hopsteep

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Very nice! I’ve recently launched a small pilot brewery in Essex and will be scaling up to a 2bbl in the new year 🍺 Feel free to drop me a message at some point.

Cheers,

sam
 

Cheshire Cat

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Hi All,

I've wanted to share this for a little bit but I needed to be sure it was going ahead before I got too excited.
I also wanted to make sure @Chippy_Tea and @Angie were OK with me posting, as it is a commercial venture. So thanks for supporting me Admins!
Let me tell you a little story.

This hobby of ours has become a bit of an obsession for me. I've only been a member here for a few years, but was a lurker for many before that. Here I have met a fantastic group of like minded beer lovers and brewing nerds and this place is probably my most visited website after Google.

When @Obadiah Boondoggle and me started the malt group buy, we discovered a local brewing community in South Cheshire that we didn't know existed. There are 14 or more of us locally and we share, collaborate and learn from each other and most importantly we are now good friends. This local group extends into some of the more distant group buy members, some even with small commercial breweries.

We've talked in the group about the dream of starting a real brewery and there are differing opinions on this. "You can't make money at a small scale", "why would you turn an enjoyable hobby into a chore", "I haven't got the skills", "I couldn't risk the day job". Reality bites when you have a mortgage, car payments and other obligations and it remains a fantasy. But I still really wanted to have a go. So I started to put a bit of cash aside, just in case I could create an opportunity some time.

In October, one of our local gang let me know that a brewpub in the next town along had changed hands, and the new owner was refurbishing the back room that was formerly the pub's brewery as he no longer wanted to brew, so I went to see him. The timing was perfect. It was a Friday night and he told me that the builders were coming in on Monday to knock the wall through from the pub side to the brewery and he needed the 2BBL kit out before them. He would have ended up having to pay them to rip it out, so a very very good deal was made and I agreed to have the kit gone by Sunday opening time. With no lorry, no storage and tonnes of steel to move.

I set about trying to find a storage container and a means of transport and had that sorted by Saturday morning, along with a crew of forum members and local brewers to help me get it moved on Sunday. And so now it's in storage at a haulage yard nearby.

And since then I have been looking for a space to brew, with the right planning use, the right utilities and drainage and at a rental price that can sustain a 2BBL kit.
I have a full time career already, I don't need another weekday occupation right now but I have a supportive family and a 21 year old with plenty of time on his hands too. And so I don't need an income from it. It just needs to cover its costs to begin with and we can decide how or if to grow it after that.

At that 2BBL scale, a couple of Saturdays brewing and a couple of Sundays packaging means I can keep some separation from my job and not risk being seen to be moonlighting. The head of HR at my employer is onboard with me doing this part time too, I've kept it very transparent with them.

I've found a 450 sq.ft unit now and just need to sign the lease. I have set up a limited company and I have a long list of stuff to do before we can think about mashing in. And then 14 casks a month will sustain our little weekend venture.

My vision is that the brewery may become the centre of our local homebrewing group. I'd love it to have the gang down to brew on the 'big' kit on Saturdays, do some bottling together, stick a big telly up with the football/rugby/F1 on and have a regular team brew day. The ability to brew recipes created by the crew at scale and sell them is a very exciting prospect. Can't promise salaries and company cars at this stage but that's not the point. I had considered seeking external finance, from family, or our local brewing group and even a crowd funding campaign but then there's pressure to deliver a return. I think I can cover it if I'm not too proud to insist the the shiniest newest gear and I'm prepared to make and repair what we need.

Obadiah and I have also talked about doing things for the benefit of the community too. I'm quite sure that there are guys and girls in the area that just need a break from personal life challenges, and to have a regular opportunity for them to come and chill out, stir the mash and be somewhere else for a day would be just fantastic.

After we get cask going, I'm still thinking about how to package for retail - bottles, cans, mini-kegs. and where to sell it - makers fairs, home delivery, website etc. But that's phase 2 and very much dependent on getting that trade business up to 14 casks first, and whether my family want to take on the burden too.

Thanks for reading - I'll keep this thread updated and I'll make a few videos of the progress for those that want to follow along.
I posted a couple already and since harrybrew69 'bigged me up' on his channel, I think I'll have to make a few more now...



Like, Subscribe and ding my bell :)
Fantastic and I wish you all well. Hope I can visit when I pick up the grain.
 

Sadfield

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The community aspect is a nice touch. Good luck.

At a glance the kit looks very similar to what Sean uses at Tom's Tap in Crewe, so possibly a contact for advice, if needed.
 

chopps

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The community aspect is a nice touch. Good luck.

At a glance the kit looks very similar to what Sean uses at Tom's Tap in Crewe, so possibly a contact for advice, if needed.
His kit is bigger, but along the same lines.
We've been to see Sean and Chad a few times now and they know what we're doing.
Chad's already offered for him and Sean to come and brew with us once we're set up - really great support from everyone so far, it's marvellous.
 

Sadfield

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His kit is bigger, but along the same lines.
We've been to see Sean and Chad a few times now and they know what we're doing.
Chad's already offered for him and Sean to come and brew with us once we're set up - really great support from everyone so far, it's marvellous.
That's great. There's plenty of good people in the beer industry, who get that creating a beer scene in an area is important and beneficial.
 

chopps

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Well done. And what a stroke of luck getting hold of the kit for the cost of removal - Are you going to make the new pub your first customer?
Thought about that, it would be great. There's a bit of a story for another time, but we should do something nice to acknowledge where the kit came from and how we ended up with it.
 

Dads_Ale

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Good luck with your venture.
Went to a meet the brewer evening on Saturday for the Bucklebury Brewery. They only started earlier in the year and supply a cask to a local pub, and now out local micro pub where the event was held, and bottles to local community and farm shops.
They have a 100 litre run and just use a grainfather for the mash (double run).
They also have other jobs and brew out of a single garage. they seem to be able to sustain the small capacity and are getting a good name locally.
The secret is to get your beers right. As the brewer said its one thing giving it to family and friends for comment and another expecting people to pay for it.
 

Hazelwood Brewery

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Exciting (and scary) new venture. Wow!

I wish you the very best of luck and hope it all goes well for you. We’ll all be watching one of our own. ;)
 
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