The owner of a north Suffolk micro brewery says he hopes an upcoming expansion of their business will help bring the community together.
The Hoxne Brewery, started in 2013 by Dan Steggles, formerly of the Metropolitan Police, moved to Place Farm in Stuston in October.
The operational side of the business will move to Palgrave on June 1, allowing more people to enjoy the pop-up shop and bar Crafty Beers, also known as the Tap Room, in Stuston, with an expansion to the bar and more seating planned.
The move has allowed the brewer to invest in four new fermentation vessels, which means they can hold more beer.
Although a few local pubs are supplied by Hoxne Brewery, the majority of their trade comes face-to-face, at beer festivals.
Mr Steggles, 42, added he hoped it could be a place which could bring the community together.
“Stuston does not have anything since the Farm Shop closed,” he said. “Palgrave has a community centre and a bar, and has film nights, but Stuston does not even have a community centre.
“With the Tap Room it allows people from the village to go somewhere where they can socialise.
“We have had people move into the village who have not met their neighbours yet but have sat at the bar with someone and realised they live two doors away.”
Hoxne Brewery also hope to hire their first members of staff, one person to run the bar, with another to be responsible for bottling at the new premises in Palgrave.
Mr Steggles says he has “no regrets” after quitting the police to take up brewing full time.
Moving to Hoxne in 2010, he said a brewing kit from wife Ruth for his 40th birthday rekindled his interested in brewing – which had started many years before.
“I started brewing when I was 16 or 17 years old, living at home brewing with a home brew kit,” he explained.
“I left it for many years and it only really rekindled when we moved up to Suffolk and we had a bit more space.
“I was trying to be in the police and do this part time but it was just not working so I had to make a decision to proceed or just forget it.
“We sat down and thought ‘I don’t want to be here in 10 years time thinking we missed trick.
“I have no regrets whatsoever.”
n For more, visit www.hoxnebrewery.co.uk