Eastbourne council could open its own microbrewery

Eastbourne Borough Council is looking at the possibility of setting up its own microbrewery
Eastbourne Borough Council is looking at the possibility of setting up its own microbrewery

The leader of Eastbourne Borough Council has shared plans to open a microbrewery in the town.

Speaking at the authority’s annual meeting on Tuesday (May 21), newly re-elected council leader David Tutt described some of his administration’s plans for the next four years.

Among plans to install electric car chargers at the Hampden Park Retail Park and to move ahead with the new Sovereign Centre, Cllr Tutt (Lib Dem) said the council was considering opening a microbrewery in an effort raise income.

At the meeting, Cllr Tutt said: “We run bars across Eastbourne and at the golf club. A lot of that profit goes outside of the council.

“We can set up a microbrewery for Eastbourne and not only will it promote the council but it will promote tourism and make a difference for our communities.”

Speaking on Wednesday (May 22), Cllr Tutt shared more details of the plans.

He said: “As I said last night, we’ve actually got a number of bars. We’ve got all of the bars which run throughout the Devonshire Park complex – the Devonshire Park Theatre itself, the Congress Theatre restaurant and bars, the welcome centre bars, the Winter Garden bars.

“We’ve got the external events that we cover. At the forefront of those you’ve got events like Airbourne and the carnival and other things we’ve got a presence at. And of course we’ve got the golf club.

“If you look at what we pay for from breweries, it amounts to a very large round of beer.

“What we had in mind was the idea of a microbrewery which would feed those bars. We would be brewing our own beer and supplying our own outlets.

“That way the profit that currently goes to brewers would remain in-house.”

While Cllr Tutt stressed the plans were still a work in progress, he confirmed the cabinet would be working with council officers to develop the idea further over the summer.

He said two potential sites to set up the microbrewing equipment were currently being considered – either within a casemate at the Redoubt or at the Downs Golf Club.

If the idea progresses, Cllr Tutt said, the microbrewery could take the form of an investment into a public-private joint venture – similar to the council’s previous arrangements with the telecare firm Wellbeing and the broadband company CloudConnX.

Cllr Tutt said it was still too early to say if this would be the right model, but added he had already arranged meetings with four groups which may be interested in the project.

Further details of the proposals are expected to come before the council’s cabinet in July, with the possibility the council may begin seeking formal expressions of interest.

Cllr Tutt said: “I’m genuinely pleased. This will not only be a good income earner for the council but it will be a tourist attraction as well.”