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The Unity team: (from left) sales and logistics manager Bolo Hooper, lead brewer Jim Fullegar, founder and head brewer Jimmy Hatherley

Unity Brewing plans to relocate, attract Southampton FC fans 

Southampton’s Unity Brewing Co is planning to relocate within the city, quadruple production capacity and create a destination tap room.

Nearly £190,000 has been raised on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to help pay for the development, which will see the company move two miles to within a couple of goal kicks of Southampton FC’s St Mary’s ground – hopefully opening in time for the new Premier League season.

Specifications for equipment that will expand the brewhouse from 10hl to 20hl and take fermenting capacity up to 100hl are currently out to tender. It will be a manual brewhouse, with additional spend on the cold side. 

 “We want to grow organically, in a managed way, and in the last 18 months it’s been difficult to keep up with demand,” said head brewer Jimmy Hatherley, who founded the business in 2016. 

 “It’s a good problem to have but you don’t want to keep telling customers they can’t have all the beer they want.”

Unity recently took on a sales manager, Bolo Hooper, and a full-time brewer, Jim Fullegar, formerly with Broken Bridge Brewery.

Hatherley brewed himself with London firms Camden Town and London Fields after being inspired by a trip to Belgium as a teenager.

“That lit the flame,” he said. “When you’re working 60 to 70 hours a week as a brewer you’ve got to be passionate about it.

“But I’m not a particularly good employee, and when I moved to Southampton I noticed there wasn’t much good beer brewed this way and saw a chance to brew the way I wanted to. We’re called ‘Unity’ because it’s all about people coming together to do great things.”

Unity specialises in Belgian-style beers and ‘juicy’ IPAs, kegging and canning them and occasionally putting them into cask “when it seems like a good idea.”

Canning will continue to be contracted out to Them That Can., “but we might think about our own line in a couple of years.”

The brewer works with several wholesalers and exports “a little bit” to France, but 55% of production stays in Southampton. “We want to keep that ratio,” said Hatherley. “It’s important to us to remain a locally-focused brewery.”

Key to that vision will be a tap room opening to locals and football fans from Wednesday to Sunday. 

“Direct sales are a no-brainer,” he explained. “The pressures on small businesses mean you’ve got to maximise your margins. And, personally, I like going to breweries to drink – it’s a fun experience!”

Phil Mellows
14th May 2019

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