…and they have asked college students to design their ‘next-generation’ bar
Andy Hepworth, founder and Chairman of Hepworth & Company with Tap Room & Events Manager Matt Tobin
Hepworth & Company has opened a new Tap Room at its state-of-the-art brewery in Pulborough for visitors to enjoy its full range of award-winning beers alongside street food and regular live entertainment.
The focal point of the Tap Room is a wooden bar with beer taps fixed to the back bar, creating a contemporary feel. Guests can enjoy a pint at the bar, or sit at one of the tables, with the space accommodating up to 60 people. The Tap Room was fitted out in just seven weeks by Hepworth’s recently-appointed Tap Room & Events Manager Matt Tobin, who previously managed The Star in Petworth, and ran online beer retailer Beer Hop which specialised in American craft beers.
The Tap Room will be open Monday to Wednesday 10.00 am until 5.30 pm and Thursday to Saturday 10.00 am until 8.00 pm serving snacks, coffees and their beers, including their low alcohol brews.
Hot food will be provided Thursday and Friday nights by a roster of ‘pop ups’ with a focus on quality, and local ingredients.
Hepworth’s have launched a competition for students from the Chichester College Group challenging them to create a ‘next generation’ Tap Room and Brewery Shop, to open within the next 12 months.
In our emailed Q&A Brighton Beer Blog weren’t able to get to the bottom of why Hepworth are trusting college students to design their bar, especially given that they may well be underage and so likely never spent time in a bar, let alone understand it’s facets and functions.
Perhaps the plan is genius, and their alcohol untainted and fresh unbridled minds will think completely outside the box..?
Q & A with Andy Hepworth, Director and Head Brewer
A lot of Breweries have been adding tap rooms to their brewing premises since lockdown, you must be pleased to get yours up and running.
We’re delighted to have a Tap Room where we can serve a pint and a bite to our guests. We expect it to evolve into a versatile space: a café bar serving coffees – or one of our alcohol-free beers – to morning visitors, through to a buzzing live music venue on Friday evenings.
Bands are being lined up to play on Friday nights, with a focus on local performers. The Tap Room entertainment kicked off with popular covers combo the Davy Wavy Band with other names set to play over the coming weeks.
What will the beer offerings be? Will there be a full range/rotation of what’s being brewed that season?
The Tap Room will aways have six keg beers and three cask ales on tap. In addition, we’ll offer seasonal beer, such as our Old Ale, which is being brewed for the winter. When the first brew of Old Ale is released early November we’ll hold a tasting evening for it in the Tap Room.
In terms of the beers, the range is predominantly Hepworth’s, rotating to provide variety across our keg and cask beers. Sussex Pale Ale is a mainstay and will always be available. We will offer other beers – chosen from the brewers for whom we contract brew – on a rotational basis – such as Blue Bird, Coniston, and a varying array of Laine’s brews.
We also offer soft drinks, wines and spirits and our shop provides an extensive range of Hepworth, client and locally produced other goods including gins and lemonade.
and tell us more about the involvement of the students in the design side of things…
“We’re excited about the design plans, which will take the Tap Room and Shop up to the next level. It’s great to be working with the Chichester College Group and helping to nurture creativity and design in young people at the start of their career. We can’t wait to see
their ideas and work with the winner on turning them into a reality.”
So in your mind what is a ‘next generation’ tap room supposed to be or embody? What are you hoping to see from the designs?
We believe the basics of all good hospitality should be the driver, whether it is in a Tap Room, pub or bar. I.e. good beer well served, a welcoming atmosphere, high standards and the space to be allowed to be yourself whether reading a book with a quiet pint or meeting with friends. Our current Tap Room reflects our style and ethos and this will be carried into the new one: calm, warm, knowledgeable, safe and enjoyable. This said we offer entertainment, street food and a place to meet friends new and old; customers can also ask any questions about beer that come to mind as there is always one or two of the team, including Andy Hepworth, on hand.
Regarding style and look – no one size fits all. Some breweries and their customers value the industrial look and feel of Tap Rooms, others prefer a more ‘pubby’ feel. We think it is the beer, staff and atmosphere that matter more – we strive to develop and maintain the best in hospitality and work hard to ensure we do not disappoint.