FOR the last few years a microbrewery tucked away in Hilsea has been quietly but confidently expanding its list of clients.
But with its craft beers now starting to soar in popularity, the owners of Urban Island Brewing Co have made the decision to open up a taproom inside their site at the Limberline Spur industrial estate.
The brewery held a soft opening a couple of months back, but say they have already seen success, with a steadily growing customer base on top of the expanding deliveries.
Owner Guy Lymn said: ‘Brewing has always been my passion – I grew up around a brewery and finally I decided to take the plunge myself.
‘I thought it would be a great opportunity to expand the family business.
‘It has been very tough – starting in the business when it is so flooded has been tricky but we’re getting there and are growing.’
Currently, the brewery exports to pubs as far out as Bournemouth and Liss – and will continue to expand their clients – but is now hoping to bring more people through the doors.
Co-owner Hayley Wise said: ‘We are trying to get further out because every brewery’s beers are unique.
‘We have always wanted to do the taproom and it is another source of income that allows us to grow our business.
‘Guy built the taproom himself and we opened it just before Christmas.
‘We made it an unofficial, soft opening because we just wanted to let people know that we were here.
‘It was a really successful day and since then we have been open every month and are getting regular customers coming in as well as new customers.’
With the taproom beginning to grow in popularity, Hayley and Guy now have their sights placed firmly on the summer months – where they believe the business will truly take off.
Hayley said: ‘We are really looking forward to the summer this year.
‘We have got a lovely outdoors space here and have the woods round the back, so dog walkers and families will all be welcome.
‘This isn’t just any old industrial estate – we’ve got somewhere for dogs to wander round and for children to enjoy themselves, so we can really reach out to people in Portsmouth.’
Guy said: ‘I think there is something incredibly special about being able to drink a beer from its source.
‘This is something that seems to appeal to a lot of people and in this area we’re really the only real ale establishment.’
Hayley said: ‘The thing for us to do now is let people know that we are here.
‘We are here seven days a week and are brewing every day but the taproom is generally open on Fridays and Saturdays.
‘We are looking to extend our hours in the warmer months with the lighter evenings – we can put the benches out and everyone can enjoy themselves.
‘People are more than welcome to walk in and have a beer anytime they want.’