Joanna and Andrew Reynolds
CHURCH FARM BREWERY, WARWICKSHIRE
THE team from Church Farm Brewery is certain to be celebrating on the night of the British Farming Awards – if not for winning, then because takings of beer are sure to be up.
The arable and beef farm, Warwickshire, gave up milk production in 2012 to chase the craft beer dream. Creating a bespoke tipple for Chateau Impney, the venue for the British Farming Awards, is just one of the exciting things they have done since launching their brewery.
Moving from milk to beer was not as big a leap as many would assume. The bulk milk tanks became fermentation vessels, the milk receiving tank became a mash tun and the milk bottling machine became a beer bottling machine.
Jo Reynolds says: “My husband never throws anything away. We cannibalised everything from our former dairy, so our start-up costs were practically nothing.”
What began as a hobby to produce beer for rugby watching sessions in the ‘man shed’ quickly became a burgeoning business, not least because the farm and family seemed perfectly designed for a brewery.
“We now grow some of our own barley, we have a borehole, so we use our own water, and our herd of beef cows are our recycling team. They love the spent grains.”
Initially this set- up produced 20 barrels of beer per brew, but they have recently begun implementing an ambitious expansion plan, which will eventually see them producing 320 barrels of beer per week.
The business supplies 55 pubs and the five-year plan includes the team purchasing a pub of their own and venturing into export markets.
What the judges said: “Church Farm Brewery is a well thought-out diversification enterprise. They haven’t been afraid of making a big change on the farm and engaged members of the family to make it happen.”
On winning: Joana and Andrew Reynolds – Church farm brewery
Joanne Reynolds said: “I can’t feel anything at the moment, I am just absolutely thrilled.”
“The cows for many years were just getting by and now we are more than getting by.”