Firstly, I know its a bit late, as we are already into February, but Happy New Year! This last year has been a bit mad, we've been on quite a ride. Starting the year locked down and barely brewing once a week, to a chaotic summer constantly brewing at capacity, and finally a largely uncertain winter. We made it though, and we would love to thank all of our superstar customers who have supported us through this, not only surviving but thriving.

The last year also saw a few changes. We managed to remain open partly due to the marquee (aka Beer Cave), which we had up through most of the spring and summer (once we were allowed to reopen the bar. We can't lie, it gave us all nightmares when the wind blew and didn't make the general brewing operations easier. However, it allowed us to welcome you all back in as safely as possible and create a community space. Whilst it is now down and packed away, keep an eye out as it should be making a reappearance later in the year.

Having the marquee up made us realise that we needed to expand our indoor bar seating and thus we began work on reconfiguring the brewery (in line with some other changes that I will get onto). In order to do this, we needed to take a lot of our storage off site. Again, this change makes things a little bit more difficult for everyday brewing operations, but gave us the opportunity to expand our bar, which has become a major part of the business. Whilst we were at it we added some insulation and clad the walls in timber to bring some much needed warmth in the winter months.

The other major change, some of you will already be aware of, will soon be upon us. We are upgrading all of our brewing kit, from the brewhouse, to the fermenters, to the cleaning system and floor. We have been working on this for well over a year in conjunction with TCE Projects, who are project managing for us. We have designed the new kit in order to optimise the space we have. Going from a 5.5BBL kit (brewing up to 900L) to an 7BBL (up to 1150L), whilst this doesn't seem like a massive step up we will have more fermenters and a couple of bright beer tanks. This ultimately means we can brew more when we need to and will have the ability to condition beer in the brewery (allowing for canning very soon). As a brewer the bit I'm most excited about is the greater control we will have over the process, allowing us to produce beers with a greater degree of quality and consistency.

I'm going to end this here as I need to write another blog (whilst I have 5 minutes) about our collaboration brew with Blue Monkey Brewery.

Until next time!

This is just a quick post to give an update on how things are post May 17. This is, of course Step 3, of the government roadmap to reopening the country. Rules on gathering indoors have been relaxed, so that six people or two households may now meet up inside. The question you may have is: "How does this apply when I'm visiting 8 Sail Brewery?"

We have reinstalled the sides of the marquee, so that it provides more protection from the elements (thanks British weather!) However, we are not currently encouraging people to sit inside the bar during shop hours. We have some lovely infrared heaters in the marquee ensuring it will be toasty enough for anyone who want to sit 'inside'.

Back with the beer cave

Table service is still in place, as part of the guidance is that customers must be served, eat and drink whilst seated. So for the time being, you'll have to continue to enjoy watching us run around like headless chickens on a Friday night!

Whilst you do still need to be seated, we cannot reserve tables, please stop asking, or keep asking... it's fine... we aren't going barmy... at all... maybe... don't ask. The tables are owned by the Windmill, and prioritised for the cafe, so we cannot reserve them for the bar.

However, the good news is that you can meet in groups of up-to 30 outside, but since we still need to serve you away from the bar (which is inside) we will continue with table service for the time being.

If you are coming inside to use the shop, please continue to wear a facemark and practise all that good stuff, like using hand sanitiser. Continue to sign in, or scan the QR code. Continue to be considerate of people around you. We're all adults (hopefully), so I'm sure between us we've got this.

Happy Drinking!

Eight Sail Brewery

Updated: May 12, 2021

2020 was a mad year! I joined the brewery on a volunteer basis (just to see if it was the right career move) and the next thing I know we are in the middle of a pandemic and Tony has agreed to take me on as his assistant brewer. Despite the unknowns of what was going to happen as things began to go into lockdown, we started to hatch some plans to take over the (brewing) world. You've got to dream big, right? I won't go into all of that now, because that is 'fun' for another time.

Rebranding seemed like a obvious first step. Relying more and more on bottle sales and an online presence (thanks to Beers of Europe and Real Ale Store) branding was obviously going to be key in attracting new customers. As much as we have fun designing new bottle labels and pump clips, we needed to have a cohesive look, so that when the bottles are lined up on a shop shelf, they obviously belong to the same brewery.

The decision to revamp the logo was a tough one, as Tony had painstakingly designed the original himself and we love it! However, we think the new one looks pretty good too, simple and stylish. My thoughts were 'that would look great on a bottle cap'.

The call went out to Harper Creative, who had previously designed our range of windmill pump clips (think Rolling Stone, John Barleycorn, Victorian Porter etc). We sat down and discussed what we liked, and perhaps what we disliked even more, in terms of what other breweries were doing with their designs. We wanted to future proof, so that if (when) we decided to start canning and kegging some of our beers, the design template would work just as well there. Long term thinking!

We think the designs are pretty smart, let us know what you think.

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