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Good Things co-founder Chris Drummond (left) receiving tthe Best Green Business Award from Mike Impson of Saxon Packaging 


Good things happening at Good Things Brewing

SIBA’s Brewery Business of Year has collected its award in the same week it got production under way at its own brewery.

Good Things Brewing, which also picked up the Green Business Award at the event staged at BeerX in Liverpool this month, gipsy-brewed for 18 months before acquiring its own equipment and installing it at Rendlye Farm, Eridge, in East Sussex.

In that time the two families that run the company “impressed judges with their unique approach to all aspects of their business and how their core beliefs as brewers shone through not only in their branding but in their actions as an independent craft brewer,” said chair of judges Neil Walker. 

What most caught the eye was Good Things’ unique process for converting spent grain into flour, invented by co-founder Chris Drummond.

“I worked as a heating engineer for 15 years, ending up as managing director of the company, and sustainability was 90% of our work,” Drummond explained to The Brewery Manual. “I’d set up a beer subscription service, Crafty Crate, as a hobby and noticed the waste involved in brewing. I saw there were opportunities to bring my skills into a new world.”

So he teamed up with friend Sam Robinson, who has a marketing background, and they founded Good Things in June 2017.

Recipes were developed at the Missing Link brewing facility at Chiddinglye Farm in Sussex, and brewing continued at By the Horns and Arundel Brewery, among others, where they gained a clear understanding of procedures and quality control and established what they’d need for their own brewery. 

They also started to build a market for the beers and judged whether there would be a positive response to an eco-business.

Former Beavertown head brewer Jenn Merrick, founder of Earth Station Community Brewery, was enlisted as consultant. “We have Jenn to thank for everything we do,” declared Drummond.

The first year also came with a sharp lesson, he recalled, as they lost 5,000 cans of beer “because of bad hygiene”, costing the business £35,000.

Then the opportunity came to buy a brewery from Sussex’s Lost & Found Brewery, now closed. 

“We saved £250,000 by buying second-hand, and it’s good for the environment to re-use stainless steel. It was only nine months old and it could be adapted to what we needed.”

The 22-hectolitre brewhouse is backed by three 42-hectolitre fermenters and four 22-hectolitre fermenters. There’s also the top-secret machine, already on its third version, that dries the grain, alongside Good Things’ own flour mill, named Heidi. A canning line, on order from Micro Can, will complete the set-up.

Head brewer Darryl Mills was ‘poached’ from Dark Star Brewing Company, and he’s assisted by family friend and home brewer Russ Wheildon. 

Their first brew at Eridge was a Brut Saison, “something we could turnaround quickly and pick up any problems.” The core lines will, more conventionally, be a pale, an IPA and a lager. All these will be packaged in keg and destined for key markets London and Brighton as well as local outlets.

Good Things will also be brewing its first cask beer, which it hopes will be a collaboration with “the second-best brewer in Sussex”, Gary Sillence of Brighton Bier.

And there are plans to diversify into related food products, to help overcome the ‘ups and downs’ of the brewing business.

The company’s green initiatives will be developed further, too. It already produces all its own power from solar panels, processes waste through a reed bed and taps into a 63-metre deep bore hole 15 metres from the brewery for its water – which it might start canning in future.

“For the next phase we want to become a waste plastics drop-off point for shredding and melting it down for other products,” said Drummond.

“We’d also like to give local brewers the opportunity to convert their own spent grain to flour on our equipment. One small brewer doing it isn’t going to make much difference.”

SIBA business award winners, in full:

  • Brewery Business of the Year - Good Things Brewing
  • Marketing Implementation – Black Sheep 
  • Green Business – Good Things Brewing
  • Business Innovation – Big Drop Brewing Co
  • Commercial Achievement – Boss Brewing Co
  • Best Individual Design – Two Tribes Blitzed
  • Best Concept Design – Stewart Brewing
  • Supplier Associate of the Year – Charles Faram
  • Best Independent Craft Beer Retailer, Single – The Epicurean
  • Best Independent Craft Beer Retailer, Multiple – Lincoln Green Brewery
  • Best Independent Craft Beer Restaurant – Curry Leaf Café
  • Best Independent Craft Beer Promotion, on-trade – Beer Day Britain
  • Best Independent Craft Beer Promotion, off-trade – Waitrose
  • Best Independent Craft Beer Bar or Pub, city – The Copper Bar, Swansea
  • Best Independent Craft Beer Bar or Pub, rural – Bowland Beer Hall, Clitheroe

Phil Mellows
29th March 2019

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