Saturday 4 March 2023

Fable of a failed brewery

The news that the Old Dairy Brewery had gone bust didn't come as a huge surprise to those of us that knew the company. It didn't mean it wasn't sad though. I spent a few years working for the company. I learnt a lot there, met some great people and had some good times. I also met some right arseholes and had some bad times, but such is life. 

Exchanging messages with my ex-colleagues after the brewery closure lead to us finally getting our act together to meet up for another reunion. We went to the taproom in Tenterden, which allowed us to have a last look at the brewery before the vessels go to their new home. 

Going to a brewery on Hukins hop farm

They've done a good job with the taproom, and it's quite pub like, which is good for Tenterden where be pubs are a bit restauranty. 

Old pump clips on the wall brought back a few memories, once again some good some bad!

Though mostly good, obviously

The Old Dairy beers are now being contract brewed, and whoever's doing it seemed to be doing a decent job. The staff were great and it was good to catch up with old friends. 

photo by Sean Calnan


  1. A decade ago Old Dairy seemed to have the best beers in Kent, always a joy to come across them in GBG pubs and even wider. Just shows that it's not necessarily beer quality that determines success.

    1. Yes, sadly there's a need to make more money than is spent too.

  2. Yes, a real shame about Old Dairy. As Martin points out, their beers were amongst the best in Kent, but did they try expanding too fast, and too soon?

    I recall hearing that their plant was too large, and they were struggling to make full use of it. I was also told that those old Nissen huts weren't particularly suited to house a brewery - freezing cold in winter, and baking hot in summer.

  3. Most breweries I've worked in are freezing in Winter! When I worked on the Old Dairy five barrel kit in Rolvenden production had reached up to 45 barrels a week. The new brewery had a 30 barrel brew length but never brewed more than twice a week. So not much increase in sales. And I believe the were strapped for cash after the expansion.