East Sussex brewery marks anniversary that might never have been

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An East Sussex brewery celebrates its fourth anniversary this month [November] as the school-friend directors who formed it recall the rollercoaster ride it has been.

Three Acre Brewery, based in Blackboys near Heathfield, may have had small beginnings but is growing rapidly, with nationwide distribution on the cards next year. They have delivered hundreds of thousands of pints of their 23 bespoke beers far and wide.

The three founders met at the village school in Blackboys, where they grew-up, and kept in touch. Although each pursued a different career path though university, they had a common goal to start a craft brewery to reimagine cask beer – an area of the market in desperate need of a reboot.

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Jamie Newton is a qualified architect but finds the role of Head Brewer a rewarding one as he’s in charge of the brewery’s day-to-day operations. Chester Broad looks after marketing and is about to leave a career with Microsoft to join the brewery full-time as demanded by the rise in popularity of the beers and an increase in output to supply the national chain. Finance is in the hands of Peter Mayhew who also enjoys trialling new beer recipes.

The Three Acre team busy at an outside eventThe Three Acre team busy at an outside event
The Three Acre team busy at an outside event

The trio formed the brewery in late 2019 and had hardly got going before the Pandemic hit. But, far from being a commercial disaster the brewery used lockdown to supply beer direct to end users. They operated something akin to a milk round, except they were supplying two litre cartons of their favourite ales within a ten-mile radius of the brewery.

“This allowed us contact with our customers such that we might not otherwise have achieved”, says Chester. To this day that personal delivery services continues although it now forms but a small yet important part of the brewery’s total output.

Friends and family members provided an injection of investment which allowed the brewery to expand as demand for its products increased. Today it supplies pubs across the South East, as well as a burgeoning regional trade via wholesalers.

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"Arguably the most important thing for Three Acre is just about to happen”, says Head Brewer Jamie. “We are working hard on a forthcoming deal with a major pub chain.” Such a move has required a good deal of careful planning, but it is what will turn Three Acre from a small, niche beer producer into a brewery of note.

The three school-friend directors behind Three Acre BreweryThe three school-friend directors behind Three Acre Brewery
The three school-friend directors behind Three Acre Brewery

Also in the pipeline is a micropub, up and running in the local area in time for next spring and summer. “We have plans for a fantastic venue”, says director Peter Mayhew. “It will provide a community space for local people plus, of course, a chance to sample all our wonderful beers.”

The anniversary will be marked at the brewery as the trio raise a celebratory glass of their latest creation, the vegan-friendly Chocolate Oat Stout which has already proved popular with local inns. https://threeacrebrewery.com

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