Twenty-one years ago I founded Milton Brewery.
Eighteen years ago we founded Individual Pubs, to run pubs serving our beer.
The journey, over those years, has been a blast. Hard work — certainly, but fun and rewarding. We built a couple of small, profitable businesses. Not wildly, buy yourself a Caribbean island profitable, but steady enough.
With the Beer Tree, we've raised over £50,000 for various deserving causes.
We've paid all our taxes, and all our staff, and our suppliers.
And seven weeks ago, a new virus entered the UK.
On Monday 16th March, the Prime Minister — Boris Johnson, announced that the UK population should no longer use pubs. On March 20th pubs were ordered closed. Our business stopped. Supplying beer to pubs and selling beer in pubs is what we do. And now we can't. We operated one pub, the Haymakers, as a takeaway for a few days but the risks are not worth it — to our staff and for our customers — so we stopped that too.
Some of our customers have been wonderful, though closed themselves they've paid on time — early in some cases. Others haven't. Some haven't paid for beer that they sold in January. Big (Brewdog plc) and small (Plough, Shepreth) enterprises have shown their true, appallingly mendacious, colours in this time.
Our staff are now 'furloughed'. They will be paid, up to the government mandated limit.
Us directors receive no such support. We were paid out of profits. And there aren't any.
Milton Brewery does not bottle our beers, nor do we sell cans. It wouldn't matter much if we did. We are not licensed to sell it this way. The government has been asked to make an exception for breweries like us, but has so far declined.
We are allowed to sell polypins and firkins from the brewery, so with appropriate measures, that is what we will continue to do. We will ask you to pay by bank transfer (contactless only works to £45 now). We can place the beer in your vehicle. Order by email or phone (01223 862067).
One day, this horrible virus will go away. We hope to still be here. At the heart of the community, making great beer.
Please stay safe and we'll get through this.
28th March 2020