Five years ago, being a brewer was a pipedream for engineer Guy Lymn. Now Urban Island Brewery, the microbrewery in Limberline Spur, Hilsea, that he runs with partner Hayley Wise, has been named Portsmouth and South East Hampshire CAMRA’s Brewery of the Year 2019.
‘I first drank beer when I was eight years old,’ Guy said.
‘It’s always been a passion. Brewing has always been something I’ve wanted to do.’
Guy, whose grandfather was a barrel maker at Gales Brewery in Horndean, said he was 'overwhelmed’ by the award.
‘Sales have gone up because we won, particularly from local pubs,’ Guy said.
‘It’s always good to support local business – and we don’t have far to deliver.’
‘It’s been hard to keep up with demand.’
Urban Island, one of the first microbreweries in Portsea, has gone from making 900 litres of beer every week in its first year to turning out more than 6,700 litres a week.
The brewery’s beers – from golden ales to chocolatey porters – can be found in more than 100 pubs across the south east.
Hayley, who was pregnant with the couple’s first daughterwhen they found the brewery site, said: ‘We’ve had great word of mouth success, thanks to our selection of beers.
‘We try to cater for all sorts.
‘We don’t want to be known as a niche brewery.’
After renovating the site in Limberline Spur, Guy, 40, brewed his first ale to celebrate his grandmother turning 100 years old in 2015.
He said: ‘The biggest challenge was getting our first customers.
‘We needed people to have confidence to try and buy something new.
‘After that, we began to build up our reputation – the product speaks for itself.’
Guy sees kegging becoming ‘more and more popular,’ with plans to keg more of the brewery’s beer, as well as expanding to supply pubs in London and Manchester.
Urban Island Brewery’s taproom, in Unit 28 Limberline Industrial Estate, is open 1pm to 7pm, Friday to Saturday, with opening hours to be extended in the summer.
For more to go urbanislandbrewing.uk/
Portsmouth and South East CAMRA also named The Lawrence Arms, in Lawrence Road, Southsea as its pub of the year, for the second yearrunning.