Sizzling summer brilliant for brewers

Andy Hepworth at Sparks in the Park
Andy Hepworth at Sparks in the Park
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As West Sussex enjoys its hottest summer in recent years, one local company is making its presence felt at a number of outdoors events in the county.

Hepworth and Co Brewers are taking advantage of the heat by offering a range of ales to taste on the warm afternoons, and owner Andy Hepworth says the Horsham-based brewer is profiting nicely from their increased exposure.

He said: “The sunshine makes a huge difference. I always work on the basis that if the weather is good at more than 50 per cent of the events we do, we are ahead - so this year we are far ahead.

“At a guess we are 10 per cent ahead of last year, 25 per cent including events, and a lot of that is down to the weather.”

The brewery was opened in 2000 soon after the closure of King and Barnes, and now employs around 20 staff.

Appearances at summer events such as Piazza Italia, the Garden Music Festival, Sparks in the Park and the Cranleigh Show have made Hepworth and Co hard to miss, with Andy adding the sun has ‘undoubtedly’ helped.

He said: “It is just so nice to go to events not wearing your wellington boots!

“It is our main form of marketing - I am a great believer that the beer should do the talking. If people taste our beer they can decide whether they want to buy it, and most of them do.

“It is always much nicer when you are at these events to be working hard than not working, it is much more enjoyable.”

The weather has helped the local brewery, but demand for beers such as Sussex, Prospect and the organic lager Blonde has increased regardless.

Andy added: “We are never going to have the marketing power of the bigger companies so we have to get people to try our beer - and it is working.”

The busy brewers do not plan on slowing down, with upcoming events including the Oakwood Hill Flower Festival and the Big Nibble.