WITH interesting flavours and great body, Havant Brewery ales have become some of the most popular in the area.
So much so that brewers Mike and Caroline Charlton are moving their thriving business out of their garage into large new premises in the heart of Havant town centre.
The couple, from Cowplain, took a gamble three years ago by setting up the brewery – and it paid off.
They now supply major pubs across the area and have resident beers in place such as Cowplain Social Club and the Bird in Hand pub, in Lovedean.
A resurgence in popularity for real ales has helped them defy the gloomy economic climate and move to increase production of their award-winning products.
Mike, a 47-year-old grandfather, said: ‘We started nearly four years ago now and, throughout that time, we’ve grown.
‘It will be great to be in The Tanneries, just behind the retail park in the centre of the town. We can’t wait to pick up the keys.
‘It all started because Fullers closed down Gales Brewery in what was essentially a hostile takeover. It was a brewery with a very long tradition and it annoyed me.
‘I went back to home brewing again and we looked into our finances and decided to start our own brewery.’
Current ales include Havant Finished, which was named beer of the year in Camra Hampshire Competition 2009 and 2010.
Havant Started is also popular, along with Havant Time. The Christmas special this year was Havant Unwrapped and the sweet stout Havant Herd is a special.
Mike’s brews star as guest ales in pubs such as The Hole in the Wall and The Leopold in Southsea and the Old House at Home in Milton.
It is hoped that eventually the public will be able to buy directly from the brewery when the shop is up and running.
Mike said: ‘We get a lot of requests to come and visit the brewery but there just isn’t enough space – it’s just our garage. We also don’t want people traipsing through our home.
‘But once it is up and running in Havant we will welcome guests. And it’ll be great to get our house back!’
The couple move into their new premises later this year.