September 30, 2014 by Kay Byrne
On a short holiday in late September to West Wales I made arrangements to call at the Bluestone Brewing Company (Good Beer Guide 2015 p707), which is in the Gwaun Valley (Bessies etc) near Newport, Pembs.
We were greeted by Amy Turner who, with her business partner and father Simon, has built up an impressive number of customer outlets (around 200) in less than a year of opening the brewery and starting production.
They currently have five different brews in production which are either available in barrels, bottles or 5-litre mini-kegs, to suit a variety of pubs’ sales volumes.
Whilst they’ve converted much of the farm buildings to brewery, office, cold store, etc, they’re finding demand, especially during the summer – thanks to the thirst of tourists – means they’re going to have to continue to convert more of the farm’s buildings to brewery use very soon. Success is all very well but it means continually spending large sums of capital!
Their brewing kit is a 10-barrel outfit, which was bought almost new from sources in England & Holland (see pictures). Also Simon has a small scale experimental brewing outfit, where he perfects new recipes.
Their West Wales wholesaler Templeton has coincidentally produced a useful booklet listing the breweries in the area. I’ll be passing a copy to Beth for her consideration as part of her brewery visit planning and to Hywel to get the beers into the Ancient Briton!
I was really impressed by their use of tele-marketing (Amy makes up to 200 calls to customers every Monday seeking orders) and the use of social networks, website, brochures, and use of internet card payments for off-brewery sales.
They are also environmentally friendly, and have a distinct financial advantages over competitors, in that they take their water from a Preseli Mountain well, have a 4kw photo-voltaic solar panel array on their roof, have a reed-bed waste water system – so no water rates!
If using GPS to find the brewery SA45 0QW please bear in mind this might not take you directly as there some six houses/farms scattered over a quarter of a mile with the same postcode.
In the recent Pembrokeshire Beer Festival, Bluestone Brewery won 1st & 2nd with their Elderflower Blond and Blond brews respectively.
My impression of Bluestone was sufficiently enthusiastic that I took advantage of their 12 bottles for the price of 10 offer, bringing home a selection for Christmas.
By Colin Rees – Publicity Officer – Neath Port Talbot CAMRA Sub Branch