Hot Walls

Back in 2011 I saw a post on the Strong Island blog about an art exhibition they were hosting at the round tower in old Portsmouth. I went along and enjoyed seeing the work of local artist’s displayed in an ancient building which I had never set foot in before. I went away thinking how cool Portsmouth is with all its history and creativity. Over the years I kept seeing updates about a project nick-named ARTches, which planned to turn that part of old Portsmouth into a cultural hub for the creative industries.

At the same time I was working for a micro-brewery and hatching my plans to start my own brewery in Southsea. I visited the Bermondsey Mile breweries in London a few times and was inspired by the creative urban brewers nesting themselves into railway arches which became a beer tourist destination. I remember wondering if there were any railway arches in Portsmouth and suddenly the ARTches project came to mind. I started making phone calls to anyone who had any information about the project and expressed my idea of setting up an artisan craft brewery there. I was passed around various departments in the council and people in Portsmouth’s cultural partnership who all loved the idea and tried their best to help, but I was going round in circles and not making any progress. It was at this point my small, fragile idea was nearly snubbed out completely.

SBC 3d model 1

Determined to get my idea off the ground, I wanted people to see the same vision I had in my head so I made a 3D model of my garage home brew kit set up in one of the arches in old Portsmouth. This helped a lot, once people could see my vision, they understood the whole idea and this got things moving in the right direction. I found my champion in the council who (despite not drinking beer) loved the whole idea and had the influence to make it happen. After a positive meeting, I got an email saying that the hot walls might not be the best place for this but they had another idea in mind which might work. I was very curious as to where this place might be and a few ideas ran through my head, but the next day I was invited to a meeting, the location – Southsea Castle.

I’d only ever seen the castle from the outside but as soon as I stepped inside, I knew this had to be the home of The Southsea Brewing Co.

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