We are probably a bit like you.
We love beer! It's been a big part of our lives. We have been drinking the stuff with friends since before we can remember. We have pondered on its makeup and all the little nuances that give it character. We have often considered making the stuff, but always thought it was a dream, it was just “the beer talking”.
Then, back in 2011, Lucy got made redundant from a charity she had dedicated 11 years of her life to. It was a blow, but out of it came the need to discover something new, a fresh way of living. So we went on a road trip.
We took a 5000 mile journey around the National Parks of the west coast of the USA, Yosemite, Mojave Desert and Yellowstone to name but a few. What quickly became apparent was not only the beauty and majesty of where we were, but also the beer we discovered!!
Whenever we stopped in civilization we’d often end up at a bar or brewpub, trying the local brew. We were expecting bland macro lager, but what we experienced was wonderfully hoppy American craft beer. These beers had massively pungent aromas of crazy things like pine and mangos. We fell in love. We never knew beer could be such a sensual experience!
So, the little cogs of genesis started turning and after reading an article about microbreweries in Gloucester in the inflight magazine on the way home, it seemed like our destiny was found!
Start an empire in your garage
Starting up a microbrewery is a very expensive business. Not being rich and not wanting to borrow loads of dosh, we decided to start small and build up the business bit by bit.
Amongst other things, this meant getting planning permission to convert the garage from a wood shed into a brew house. In May 2012, Sylvia, our half barrel (80L) brew kit was installed and off we went. A journey of exploration into the dark arts of all things fermentation ensued. We became obsessed with brewing and it is here that we learnt our craft.
After a few months of trial brews, sampled by several local ale drinkers, we launched Corinium Ales in the Cirencester Farmers’ Market in November 2012.
And our humble 11m² garage space remained a hive of activity with brewing, cask racking and bottle filling to quench the thirst of our ever expanding empire.
ENTER “THE DOGHOUSE”
Brewing in the garage had many advantages, our favourite one being the ability to go back to bed straight after putting the mash on in the early hours of the morning. But on the downside, it wasn't suited for direct sales or entertaining. It was becoming apparent that our compact and bijou premises were too small for our ever expanding needs.
With this is mind we went in search of somewhere a bit bigger and low and behold we were alerted to a unit at the Old Kennels in Cirencester Park. It ticked many boxes and after more planning permission, some small scale works and a paint job, we opened what we have nicknamed “The Doghouse” in June 2016. Here we brew on a “massive” one barrel (160L) brew kit called Sylvester. He's quite a beast. Woof!
So this is our home for now and we love it but it may not be our final destination; there will be more to come...