New brewery is the Cat's Whisker
SUFFOLK has long been known for producing fine ale, but one beer lover is hoping to raise the stakes with the launch of a new micro-brewery. Marc Bartram, who has spent the past seven years developing a wide range of delicious cask and bottled beers, officially opened the doors to his new brewery at Rougham Airfield, near Bury St Edmunds, this week.
SUFFOLK has long been known for producing fine ale, but one beer lover is hoping to raise the stakes with the launch of a new micro-brewery.
Marc Bartram, who has spent the past seven years developing a wide range of delicious cask and bottled beers, officially opened the doors to his new brewery at Rougham Airfield, near Bury St Edmunds, this week.
Bartram's Brewery, which was launched in Thurston in 1999, began life as a five-barrel plant. In his first year of production, Mr Bartram won a commendation at the Cambridge Beer Festival for his Bees Knees beer, and in 2003 his Cherry Stout was voted second best beer in East Anglia by the Society of Independent Brewers.
“I worked as a contract brewer for a few years after starting out, and for the past two years I have been sharing the Buffy's Brewery plant in Norwich, although I have been on the lookout for new premises,” said Mr Bartram, from Felsham.
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“I have supplied a lot of beer for events held at Rougham Airfield in the past, and the owners asked me if I wanted to set my brewery up in an old parachute packing plant.”
Mr Bartram, who turned 50 on Wednesday, currently produces around 25 different types of beer, including The Cat's Whiskers, Captain Bill Bartram's Best Bitter, and Mother in Law's Tongue Tied.
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“I currently sell to farmers' markets, but I hope to get my own shop up and running soon,” he said.
“I am a one-man-band and do everything myself, including brewing the beer, labelling it, and selling it. It is hard work and long hours, but I really enjoy it.”
Officials from the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), visited the brewery on launch day to present Mr Bartram with a supreme champion award for his Coal Porter ale, which he scooped at the Letchworth Garden City Beer Festival earlier in the year.
John Agnew, owner of the Rougham Estate, said the airfield seemed like an ideal spot for the brewery.
“Marc is someone that we have been aware of for some time, and when we realised he was looking for somewhere to set up his brewery we thought the old parachute packing building would be very suitable,” he said.
“We have got a reputation for having a good beer tent at our events, and Marc is one of many local micro-breweries that supply us with beer.
“They are becoming increasingly popular, and the Bury area is particularly well-endowed with them.
“Marc brews a number of different beers, as well as seasonal and celebration beers, and they are wonderful.”