Prior to the development of Mile Tree Brewery, I had been a keen and passionate home brewer for over twenty-five years. During this time, I had brewed many styles of beer including, milds, porters, stouts and pale ales in a shed at the bottom of the garden. These beers were brewed using a five gallon infusion mash system, which had been constructed from various stainless steel vessels over the years. The use of a temperature-controlled cabinet meant that fermentation was accurately achieved using an ATC 800 thermostat. Using the experience and knowledge that I had gained from being a member of Cambridge Craft Brewers, attending courses at Brewlab in Sunderland and visiting many breweries throughout the UK, I produced mainly bottle-conditioned ales. I was able to create my own labels using print industry standard software/hardware, as I had worked for a major label printer for the past fifteen years producing labels for M&S, Sainsbury, Asda and other high street retailers.
The idea for Mile Tree Brewery arose one summer evening three years ago during a conversation with our friends, Neil & Lesley Pollington. The idea was to establish a microbrewery in a redundant stable block, which was within their newly opened Secret Garden Touring Park. It was felt that the presence of a new brewery would complement the Touring Park, and as a result it was hoped that both businesses would benefit from each other and develop together.
'Change of use' planning consent was applied for the stable block and successfully granted during September 2011. The building was then completely renovated with new walls, floors, drainage and 3 phase electrics installed. A cold room was constructed using the old 'Kingspan' roof panels and a chilling unit installed to ensure correct storage temperature for the filled casks.
An application was made for a grant towards start up costs through the Rural Development Programme England - a European agricultural fund for rural development. After many months of completing forms, providing detailed quotations and projected expenses/income, we heard in March 2012 that we had been awarded a grant, which was fantastic news as it meant that with the extra funding we would be able to purchase specially built brewing equipment from ABUK one of the UKs leading fabricators and installers.
An order was placed with ABUK for a 5bbl brewery which consisted of two fermenters, mash tun, copper, HLT, CLT, racking tank, control panel and cask washer. The brewery was installed in early October 2012. This proved to be a doubly exciting time as The Secret Garden Touring Park was awarded Tourism Award Winner 2012 by Fenland Enterprise Business Awards, an incredible achievement as the business was only in its third year!
Richard Eyton Jones, former brewer at St. Peter's Brewery, Bungay, Suffolk was commissioned as our brewing consultant to help with recipe formulation, provide training and to give support during and after the first brew. Our first beer 'Adventurer' (named after the 'Fen Adventurers' - 17th Century drainage engineers) was brewed on 15 November 2012, a 4% abv golden ale which used Challenger, Golding and East Kent Golding hops in the recipe. It has sold well throughout the local freehouses and at Ely & Cambridge beer festivals. A second beer has since been brewed and we hope to start selling bottle-conditioned beers during Spring 2013.
Richard Eyton Jones was commissioned as our brewing consultant to help with recipe formulation, provide training and to give support during and after the first brew. Our first beer 'Adventurer' (named after the ‘Fen Adventurers' – 17th Century fenland drainage investors) was brewed on 15 November 2012, a 4% abv golden ale which used Challenger, Golding and East Kent Golding hops in the recipe. It has sold well throughout the local freehouses and at Ely & Cambridge beer festivals. A second beer has since been brewed and we hope to start selling bottle-conditioned beers during Spring 2013.
If you would like to visit, you will find us at:Mile Tree Brewery Ltd
Winner of the Fenland Business Tourism Award 2012
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