Opening a microbrewery at Brockhampton Estate
What it is
In 2005, we were approached by an independent brewer looking for suitable buildings in which to set up a microbrewery business. We put him in touch with the Brockhampton Estate, which had a large redundant building, the Oast House Barn.
At one time this barn housed cattle; however, since the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001, the building had remained empty.
What we did and why we did it
We needed to bring the Oast House Barn to a standard where it could be used to house a microbrewery.
To achieve this brief, we had to make the building frost-proof, install services – including water, telecoms and a power supply; install a drainage system suitable for the disposal of liquor effluent; incorporate a new floor and wash-down apron; alter the internal layout to accommodate two storage areas; create an office and staff facilities and install a viewing gantry for visitors to view the brewing process.
Most important of all we had to make future provision for the resident bats and their roosts; as bats are a European protected species.
What else did we do?
One of the most important features of the project was the need to secure the building and prevent vermin from entering through the numerous ventilation holes in the external walls. This was the most difficult task of all.
The ventilation holes in the main walls needed to be filled, without changing the appearance of the building. We solved this problem by cutting individual sections of glass for each hole, securing them with an epoxy resin. This made the building vermin-proof and weather-tight, without altering its external appearance.
Why it was a success
This project is another example of a successful adaptive re-use. We have brought a redundant rural building back into operation, and at the same time increased the value of one of Brockhampton’s estate assets.
A number of the construction methods worked really well, for example, the glass panes, which were cut individually for each external ventilation hole. These gave a very good end result.
The installation of a portacabin, to provide office and mess facilities, also proved to be very effective. It does not detract from the building’s appearance, as it cannot be seen from outside the building, or from within the brewing room. It is also fully removable, should the building’s use be changed in the future.