Tradition is wonderful. In Uley Brewery’s case, tradition spans back almost two hundred years when the brewery was built on the site of the lower village spring outlet. This was during William IV’s reign, when Uley was filled with woollen mills, a dusty, thirsty trade with a huge appetite for beer.
The brewery served the community then and it does now, which is really the point. Throughout time, beer has played an important role in social bonding; the catalyst for social interaction helping to create a sense of community, and that tradition is followed today especially at our regular informal drinks gatherings at The Forge here.
Anyway, the point is that tradition is great, but every business needs a foot in the past and an eye to the future. The beginning of the pandemic (which seems further away now) meant that the team here had to make some quick decisions to ensure the future of the brewery. As most of you no doubt know, we made our beers portable, so that they could be enjoyed at home as well as at the many wonderful pubs in the area. If you live locally we deliver, but if you are further away, the beer is mailed to you, freshly brewed and in mini pins. We take regular stands at both Stroud and Cirencester markets meeting both local people and tourists discovering the Cotswolds and ensuring that Uley beers are available more widely.
But the tradition in the way we work has not changed much. Many of the processes are exactly as they were all those years ago, just with updated equipment. Ken and Tim our brewers, prepare and care for each brew often watching the sun rise as they begin the day. Every time an order is received, it’s prepared by hand from start to finish, mini pins filled by hand from barrels, carefully labelled and delivered. Barrels are still washed by hand and lifted one by one onto the delivery lorry. It’s not work for the faint hearted, but it’s work we love and with the development of The Forge and re-development work on the brewery building and with tradition intact, we look to the future with confidence.