Big day today in Heaney Brewery country. We started the search for a brewery about 14 months ago. Choosing which kit to buy is a decision that doesn’t come easy. Should we buy new, used, cheap and cheerful, high tech, basic, what size, how many tanks, steam, gas, electric, what FVs, unitanks, bright tanks etc etc? So much choice and so many mistakes to be made! We talked to other brewers, spent countless hours researching, had many sleepless nights and in the end we settled on a Chinese company called Tiantai.
It’s also quite a tedious process and I’m sure reading about it would be equally tedious so we’ll not get into much detail, but I have to say that dealing with Helen at Tiantai Brewery Equipment was an absolute pleasure. Helen and I exchanged 80 emails (I just counted them) so to say she was patient is an understatement. Lets just say I like things to be just right and thankfully so do Tiantai. Thanks Helen! (If anyone wants a reference or any other info then shoot me an email).
I’ll talk more about kit when we’re installing it. Now for delivery. After being on the ocean for nearly 6 weeks you never know what you‘re going to find when a container is opened. It was a nervous moment for me and I must admit I was relieved to see how well it was packed. In fact it was so well packed that we needed an angle grinder, crowbar, and a lot of brute force to free the contents.
This is always an anxious moment for any brewery. It can be tricky moving big tanks and they can be easily damaged but I needn’t have worried. Step in Hugh Griffin & Sons Contractors with their can-do attitude and their two canary yellow forklifts. Hugh, Conor and Joe got stuck in and we had everything unloaded from the two containers in a few hours. They even postponed their 10 o’clock tea break until 12.30. Heroes all! Seriously, they are the best.
A bit of balancing, fiddling, tweaking and gentle persuasion ensured that we actually had quite an enjoyable and stress free time unloading the brewery, not the angst I was expecting. Job done, containers gone and the farm is quiet again.
A little word on The Farmer. The Wood has been home for the Heaneys since the 1950s and has seen many comings and goings. They’ve farmed dairy and beef herds here and kept a few poultry. There’s been a few film crews and tourists looking to soak up a bit of the spirit of the place that Seamus talked about in his poetry. But I bet Hugh Heaney never expected this on the farm. I think he approves.
Our last beer release was called Flit The Nest. The idea for Heaney brewery was born here on the farm, a little chick that ended up in someone else’s nest. We’ve been in that nest for too long. Time to feather our own…