We have worked with Urban Island Brewery for over a year now, so thought it would be a nice time to let you know how a business like this gets up and running. We asked brewery owner Hayley a few questions, not so much on how the business was set up, but more about why Hayley and Guy wanted to run their own brewery in the first place.
Where did Urban Island all start?
You could have asked why Guy wanted to start this crazy business! But seriously, on a snowboarding holiday in December 2011, Guy and I sat drinking in a Canadian bar, as he mulled over the idea of brewing his own beer for a living. The owner of the Banff Avenue Brewing Co micropub told Guy it was a great lifestyle as he could do all the brewing he wanted and still had time to snowboard when he pleased. Those thoughts continued when Guy, a keen kitesurfer and surfer, returned to the UK. His grandfather George had been a cooper at the Gales Brewery. Guy had grown up around brewing and the brew industry so the thoughts were never going to go away. At 40 years old, he decided the time was right, but only if I agreed to it. I was pregnant with our first child at the time, but jumped at the chance to take on such a challenge.
Now you needed somewhere to brew your beer!
Yes, we found the premises in July 2013. It was in an industrial unit in Limberline Spur, Hilsea, Portsmouth. It took 2 years of hard work designing and creating the brewery but we were rewarded with our first brew in June 2015 when we started producing DSB for Dolly, Guy’s nan, who was celebrating her 100th birthday. By early 2016, Guy’s surfboard had hardly touched the water because he was brewing 1,600 pints a week, while I spent my time visiting different pubs across the region persuading them to buy our brews and serve it up to the punters.
Where is Urban Island today?
Urban Island Beer is now in pubs throughout the South of England. We put it down to a lot of hard work, brewing beers with a consistent quality and producing flavours that really excite people whether they are seasoned ale drinkers or just trying something new and different.
How do you see the brewery progressing in the future?
We want to be become one of Portsmouth’s most renowned breweries, with a whole range of exciting beers and flavours. We only brew beer that we would drink ourselves. We are passionate about brewing to highest quality possible and keeping the flavour consistent every time.