Brewhaven and friends ‘go once more unto the breach’
because where could be a safer haven for brewers and beer enthusiasts than a whacking great fort?
Brewhaven returns for a 3rd year and brings with it an impressive collection of 17 brewers from across Sussex. For only £10 you can be accessing some of Sussex’s finest craft brewing in a very unique venue.
With the quality of brewing that will be on show at Newhaven Fort, Brighton Beer Blog have put this well and truly on our calendar!
We throw a few questions at Helen Browning Smith, Tourism and Arts Manager at Visit Lewes, about this quietly growing annual celebration of brewing
So how many Brewhaven’s have there been to date?
This will be our third and the biggest yet with 17 brewers pouring over each of our three sessions – 360° Brewing Co, 3am, Abyss, Beak Brewery, Big Nose + Beardy Cider, Burning Sky, Gun Brewery, Hop Sun Tap, Lakedown, Long Man, Loud Shirt Brewery, Lost Pier, Only With Love, Silver Rocket, South Downs Cider and Three Acre Brewery.
Who are the people behind it, is there a story behind it’s creation?
Lewes District Council, as Visit Lewes, devised this event in 2021 to support local businesses coming out of Covid and celebrate the wealth of Craft beer being made in Sussex, and to showcase Newhaven Fort too!
I think we were just all aware that hospitality businesses generally had really been hit hard by the pandemic. We already had the very well established Sussex Gin & Fizz Festival supporting local wine and gin producers, and had used our platforms to promote them and their offerings during lockdown, so it felt only right to do something to publicise and support the burgeoning craft beer movement in the area too. Plus the Leader of Lewes District Council absolutely LOVES craft beer!
So why Newhaven? Is it simply because there’s a ruddy great fort there?
The fort is a pretty unique venue, so that was a draw. Also, currently there is a lot of investment in Newhaven and a huge amount of positive plans and initiatives and it’s great to be part of that momentum. Also, as it’s a port, Newhaven has the potential to become more of a tourist destination. It’s great to be putting on an event which there is a real thirst for (excuse the pun).
My main job is Tourism, so we’re always looking at new perspectives of the district to attract people to this wonderful place.
And is this simply a great opportunity to get local brewers together or is there a further ambition for the festival?
Both really – it’s definitely a celebration of local beer and brewing but LDC would like to grow the festival year on year and evolve the offering – watch this space!
How many people attended last year and how far and wide do punters generally travel from?
Last year, we welcomed over 1000 visitors – families, beer lovers, curious locals and some from further afield – London, Kent and all across Sussex.
What can people expect there in terms of brewers, food and entertainment? Are you going bigger than last year?
We’ve extended the festival to 3 sessions including a Friday night, and, through sheer ingenuity, managed to squeeze in another brewer too. This year we have also reduced the ticket price for each session to £10 for adults so it’s a win-win situation.
The Saturday afternoon session from 1 – 5pm will be laid back, family friendly affair with the Fort’s playground open and free craft activity to keep younger festival goers entertained, plus the café will be serving soft drinks, ice cream, snacks and sandwiches.
Friday and Saturday night 6 – 10pm sessions, we’ll be cranking up the festival atmosphere with fabulous music and DJs, while our brewers present their wares under the cover of an amazing WWII Romney Hut. Entertainment comes in the form of live music from bands including; Spam, Boogie Woogie Trio, Ska Toons, Magnificent Kevins, Stamner House Band and Tar Babies + DJs
There’ll also be some great local food producers serving delicious treats to help soak it up, and a wine and Sussex spirits bar for the non-beer drinkers.
Practical question.. The fort’s a little way from Newhaven station. Are you laying on shuttle busses?
We’re advising people to travel by public transport if possible as there is limited parking at the Fort. RDH Buses will be running a FREE shuttle bus between Newhaven Town Station and Newhaven Fort at regular intervals throughout the day and evening sessions.
Brighton & Hove Bus Company also run regular 12, 12A & 12X buses between Brighton and Eastbourne, stopping at Newhaven, and Compass Travel’s 123 bus runs between Lewes and Newhaven during the daytime. Newhaven Town Station can be easily reached by train from Brighton, Lewes, Eastbourne and Seaford.
The Fort is accessible for wheelchair users and motorised buggies and there are accessible toilets on site and dogs are welcome in the outdoor space; only assistance dogs are allowed in the brewers serving area.
Tickets can be booked online via Eventbrite, or in person from Dees Newsagent in Newhaven, or Lewes and Seaford Tourist Information Centres