AN ANNIVERSARY pint in Ireland sparked an idea which led to a couple starting their own brewery.
Six years later Hilary and Michael Bolt can taste the fruits of their hard work – down at their local pub.
They have built their own microbrewery at the back of their shop, Emsworth Antiques, in West Street and the first pints of Slipper ale have been enjoyed at the Gosport Beer Festival and at The Crown Hotel, in High Street, Emsworth.
Mrs Bolt, 57, said: ‘It was about the time that Fullers took over Gales and promised they would not be moving the brewery – then promptly did.
‘We had gone to Cork to celebrate our anniversary and came across a really nice little microbrewery. I had never seen one quite like it before.
‘When we moved to Emsworth in 1984 there were quite a number of pubs and it had a strong brewing background.
‘There was even a brewery in the South Street car and our house used to be a grog shop.
‘I said “Isn’t it a shame Emsworth doesn’t have a little brewery?”
‘My husband so liked the idea he didn’t let it go.’
Mr Bolt wanted to create a brewery small enough to run alongside his day job as a radar engineer.
The equipment was finally installed in November and the first cask was snapped up by the Gosport Beer Festival last month.
Mrs Bolt, who backs our Love Your Local campaign which supports community pubs, said: ‘We think it’s important for all the beers to have a local identity so we’ve given them local names.
‘The winter brew was Hollybank after the woodland and the summer session ale is Slipper, after the Mill Pond. That went to the Old House at Home in Chidham which was run by the temporary manager of The Crown Hotel, in Emsworth. We got a telephone call saying “help” – they had just run out at the Crown and could they take some Slipper?
‘We were delighted especially because it was brewed with the help of our grandson, Sam.’