The Old Tree Brewery partnership is already making drinks for Silo, a top Brighton restaurant, and wants to draw on its experience of running a micro brewery to launch other businesses.
“Nano breweries would be like the brewing store where we started in Lewes but properly kitted out with the simplest equipment which you need such as clean surfaces, clean containers, decent funnels and sieves,” said Tom Daniell, who set up Old Tree with two partners, Nicholas Godshaw and William Neame.
“We want to train other people in drinks production so that the drink is made as locally as possible to where it is consumed. We want to make our brand attractive to restaurants, bars and cafes which would supply the drink. As soon as we persuade them to do that, we can create a local job producing the drink.”
Currently, all Old Tree’s drink is made from scratch – like everything else at Silo – in the restaurant’s basement where the chefs work. Many of the ingredients come from a fruit and vegetable grocer who Old Tree met at a car boot sale. “Every Monday, he gives us the leftovers which he couldn’t sell and would otherwise be composted. Intercepting fruit in this way is most cost effective in terms of time and money.”
Old Tree also has a growing relationship with Graham Love at Greenway Fruit Farm at Herstmonceux in East Sussex, who can have surplus fruit left in his cold stores which he cannot sell if supermarkets won’t take it. For a token price, Old Tree recently took 250 kilograms of small plums and by various processes turned them into plum wine, plum cordial and plum syrup.
Now Old Tree is planning to build a larger brewery where more fruit can be processed. “We would welcome more contacts with farmers, especially if they have anything surplus. As soon as we have more hydro presses and have finished building up the storage capacity in our new space, we will be well placed to take on more fruit.”
Old Tree is moving in to Preston Barracks in Brighton and will be paying a peppercorn rent on a minimum two year contract. “The whole area has been abandoned for so long that the property company which wants to develop it in partnership with Brighton University needs to create a case for its development,” Mr Daniell explained. “They’ve launched a project called Field Brighton and invited makers and small businesses to make the most of the available space so the partners can inform their planning case. We have an amazing deal where we just have to upgrade and maintain our space in return for paying £1 a year for two years.” Old Mill is retaining its space in the Silo restaurant while expanding into the barracks.
Anyone interested in contacting Tom Daniell about fruit supplies or orchards for fruit picking should ‘phone him on 07894 153584 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictured: From left to right in the Somerset orchard are Thomas Daniell, Morgan Claverie, Amy Bramwyn, Zita Baynes, William Neame, Lindsay Burtonshaw, Oli Motteram and Nicholas Godshaw. The Old Tree partnership is aiming to plant “drink forests,” a landscape inspired by the ideas of permaculture, food forests, forest gardening and agro-ecology, but tailored to produce ingredients for making drinks locally. The partnership is looking for land in the South East to sow the plants and saplings as close to the brewery site as possible.