Not-for-profit Lewisham brewery offers takeaway service

Ignition Brewery Team, Image By – Ignition Brewery

A not-for-profit brewery in Lewisham which employs people with learning disabilities is selling takeaway beer.

Ignition Brewery  on Sydenham Road has also launched a delivery service to homes no more than a two miles away from the brewery. 

Will Evans, Ignition Brewery’s director said: “People can turn up with a container of any size of their own that they have cleaned, we fill it up with fresh beer out if the tap and then they go home and enjoy it, so that’s what we are doing for the next month of so I guess.

“Before lockdown was officially launched, we took the decision to close the brewery and the taproom, and that means we have no access to sales. We looked at what we had in the cupboards, but we had 170 cases of beer which would have in affect gone off before lockdown would have ended.”

“So the first thing we did is, we got a licence to do delivery… we set up a bit of social media and said, ‘look we have got this beer, would anyone like to buy it?’ and we had a very positive response. We did two deliveries in which we sold all of the beer.” 

Image By – Ignition Brewery

Ignition is a not-for-profit local business which employs those with learning disabilities and trains them to brew their beer. The brewery was established in 2015. 

Now that their delivery and takeaway service requires minimal staff, the majority of their team cannot work.  

Evans said: “We sell the vast majority of our production at the taproom staffed by our team with learning disabilities, everything we do is structured around having people with learning disabilities showing their talent and now we can’t do that.”

All of their paid members of staff have been furloughed and have received further support from a livery company who agreed to cover the remaining costs of their team. 

He said: “We as a business would fail if we would have to pay out in full costs when we are taking so dramatically lower than normal.”

 “We have always been very strongly supported by our local community, so we don’t really sell any beer more than a couple miles away from the taproom which is great in terms of locals and having people that you know.”

Evans said the brewery decided not to charge until delivery was completed. He adds: “We didn’t take any money before it is delivered in case anything went wrong, dropped it off and then you get a huge smile as if, ‘ah a case of beer, what a lovely thing to get.’ Even though it isn’t the most essential item, having something to sort of celebrate as a bit of luxury, is quite a nice thing during lockdown.”

Image By – Ignition Brewery

In June, Evans hopes to make more beer and include more of his team. Even when the brewery opens its doors again, he feels that it is responsible to consider the levels of risk for his workers, therefore leaving it up to them to decide if they want to work.

He said: “It won’t be as normal, and I think we will continue to do the takeaway service and we’ll maybe switch things round a bit. But yeah, we will have to [open] otherwise we won’t survive.” 

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