The lockdowns of early 2020 forced thousands of businesses to the brink of bankruptcy and nearly 350,000 businesses closed their doors for the last time, including a high proportion of leisure and hospitality companies.
Not only were the bars, pubs, hotels and restaurants affected by the lockdowns because they simply could not trade, the producers also suffered because overnight demand for their products fell off a cliff and we all remember the stories of many breweries having to pour thousands of gallons of beer down the drain.
With the economy stalling as a result of the lockdowns, a few eyebrows might have been raised when Nathan Barnes – a Warwickshire-based entrepreneur, who left the rat race during the Covid-19 pandemic – announced that he was starting an experimental brewery.
The good news is that the risk paid off and the brewery, called BRUBL, which Nathan launched in his garden shed, has recently moved to new premises in the Old Town Railway Arches, Leamington Spa, where he produces a thousand litres of beer at a time.
In the very near future BRUBL’s beers will be available in cans at local food retailers, the result of Nathan’s latest investment, a new state-of-the-art canning machine that sits alongside his eight fermenters, a conditioning tank and a space age ‘hop torpedo.’
Nathan has also launched an online shop so that craft ale lovers across the UK can now purchase BRUBL beers securely online.
Commenting on the success of his fledgling business Nathan, 50, said: “Little did I know that producing my first 20-litre home-brew in the summer of 2020 would lead to an obsession with learning to make the kind of craft beer I love to drink.
“As lockdown eased this meant that friends and family got to taste my beer for the first time, and it became evident that I was actually pretty good at it. Needless to say, I became a popular man to know!”
Eight of BRUBL’s ten beers are available online, ranging from the easy drinking IPA, ‘Highway to Hop’ 4.3% ABV, to the luxurious and deliciously dark ‘Baltic Smoked Porter’ 7.6% ABV.
As part of his ambitious growth plans, Nathan hopes to get his brews into more pubs and restaurants across Warwickshire.
Reflecting on this mid-life career change, Nathan feels that he is in a really good place: “Not many people get to completely change their lives by making their hobby their work. It’s taken a fair bit of graft and a bit of good luck – but now I just couldn’t be happier. It’s the best job in the world!”
BRUBL’s tap room is now open to the public Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings 6-11pm.
For more information visit: www.brubl.beer