Drive through micro-brewery boss says exciting times ahead

Artefact Brewing is based in Ixworth and run by husband and wife team James Phillips and Kat Lawson-Phillips.

Artefact Brewing is based in Ixworth and run by husband and wife team James Phillips and Kat Lawson-Phillips. - Credit: Artefact Brewing

The boss of a Suffolk micro-brewery which opened just before the start of the pandemic says there are exciting times ahead after a challenging first year.

Artefact Brewing is based in a 40ft container on a farm in Ixworth, just outside Bury St Edmunds.

Just weeks after husband and wife team James Phillips and Kat Lawson-Phillips started the brewery the coronavirus pandemic hit, shutting pubs and delaying the launch of their first beer.

Despite the pandemic the pair have developed nine different beers and brewed around 5,000 litres on the brewery's small 200 litre system.

Head brewer James Phillips said he was excited to see where the brewery will be this time next year.

Head brewer James Phillips said he was excited to see where the brewery will be this time next year. - Credit: Artefact Brewing

James Phillips, the head brewer and director, said: "5,000 litres may not sound like much at all to a larger brewery, many can produce that volume in a day, but for us, on the scale we’re brewing at and with all the challenges of the past year, it’s a big achievement. 


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“I have no formal brewery training and have learnt the craft from brewing at home and through lots of trial and error over the past five years or so.

"In the pre-Covid-19 days, I learnt a lot through the Bury homebrew club, run by Renè van den Oort of Beautiful Beers.

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"With the support of my wife Kat, I decided to try and progress from a homebrewer and set out working on the plan for the microbrewery back in 2018.

"It’s taken us a while to get everything set up and going, largely because we have been doing everything pay cheque to pay cheque. Then, just as we started brewing officially, coronavirus happened.

"It’s been a lot for a brand new business to deal with, and it has felt like slow progress at times, but we’re finally getting somewhere which is really positive. As breweries are classed as essential businesses during the lockdowns, we're really lucky that we've been able to keep trading and keep getting our beers out there."

The pair run a monthly drive through at the brewery to sell their beer in a safe way.

A bottle of the Artefact's brewery's 3.2% Dark Mild in front of the container in Ixworth where the brewery is based.

A bottle of Artefact's 3.2% Dark Mild in front of the container in Ixworth where the brewery is based. - Credit: Artefact Brewing

"The support we’ve had from local people since we officially launched has been really incredible," James said. "And when the pubs were open, we were starting to get some good pub trade, too, which was really nice to see.

""We’re excited to see where we might be this time next year and I’m really keen to keep on brewing different things, so that we always have something different to try.” 

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