Thirst for success drives latest business growth

Thirst for success drives latest business growth

Nathan Barnes, BRUBL, beer,Leamington, brwery

Nathan Barnes, BRUBL, beer,Leamington, brewery
‘The Crammed Inn’ in Nathan’s back garden

A Leamington entrepreneur who left the rat race during lockdown to start an experimental brewery in his garden shed, is enjoying early success with his first premises and new online shop and canning facility.

Since walking away from his 30-year career in technology, Nathan Barnes has devoted himself to BRUBL craft beer brewery and tap room full time.

Today, from his fully-equipped premises, in The Old Town Railway Arches, he produces a thousand litres of beer at any one time.

The brand will soon also be found in cans on local shelves after Nathan recently took delivery of a new state-of-the-art canning machine, which sits alongside his eight fermenters, a conditioning tank and a space age ‘hop torpedo.’

And craft ale lovers from across the UK can now purchase BRUBL beers online following the launch of his new web shop this week.

Nathan’s enterprise began life as a home-built garden beer shed, ‘The Crammed Inn’, complete with four beer taps and flashing lights. He later went on to invest in some basic kit which enabled him to progress to brewing in 150-litre batches.

It soon became clear that he’d outgrown brewing in his garden and, at the end of last year, he picked up the keys to a rental unit in the Old Town Railway Arches – and BRUBL was born.

Nathan, 50, said: “Little did I know that producing my first 20-litre homebrew in the summer of 2020 would lead to an obsession with learning to make the kind of craft beer I love to drink.

“As lockdown eased this meant that friends and family got to taste my beer for the first time, and it became evident that I was actually pretty good at it. Needless to say, I became a popular man to know!”

Nathan Barnes, BRUBL, beer,Leamington, brewery

Now BRUBL has added eight of its ten beers to its online shop, ranging from the easy drinking IPA, ‘Highway to Hop’ 4.3% ABV, to the luxurious, deliciously dark ‘Baltic Smoked Porter’ 7.6% ABV. And, as part of his ambitious growth plans, Nathan hopes to get his brew into more pubs and restaurants across the area. It can currently be found in Warwick Street Kitchen, Temperance and The Boiler Room in Leamington  and The Eagle in Warwick.

But, not one for standing still, Nathan is developing new brews all the time, the most successful of which will earn places on the BRUBL taps.

As BRUBL grows, Nathan is also keen to do his bit for the ‘circular economy’ by re-using product and minimising waste – and an arrangement with a nearby farmer means that local pigs now enjoy a tasty meal from all the spent grain that is the by-product of the brewing process.

Nathan Barnes, BRUBL, beer,Leamington, brewery

Nathan added: “The craft beer crowd is a welcoming one and I hope BRUBL reflects that. A close second to the kick I get from developing a beer recipe and watching it come to fruition is the pleasure I get from seeing new friends bonding over it.

“Not many people get to completely change their lives by making their hobby their work. It’s taken a fair bit of graft and a bit of good luck – but now I just couldn’t be happier. It’s the best job in the world!”

BRUBL’s tap room is now open to the public Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings 6-11pm. Visit: here

Local printing company secures prestigious eco hallmark

Local printing company secures prestigious eco hallmark

Steve Boyle, Bunji Printing,Leamington, FSC
Steve Boyle and his Bunji team with the FSC certificate

A Warwick printing company which generates more than 50 tonnes of paper a year, has been awarded rare FSC accreditation in a move which the owner claims is the ‘ethical responsibility of businesses.’

Steve Boyle, who runs Bunji Printing, is now calling for other firms to apply for the Forestry Stewardship Certification eco hallmark in a renewed bid to come together to fight climate change.

Forests cover nearly one third of land on Earth (4.06 billion hectares), but they’re under threat. Although the rate of forest loss has declined substantially, an estimated 420 million hectares of forest has been lost since 1990.

Only five per cent of the world’s forests are certificated by FSC, which confirms that the forest is being managed in a way that preserves biological diversity and benefits the lives of local people and workers, while ensuring it sustains economic viability.

They are managed to strict environmental, social and economic standards by adhering to 10 principles covering a broad range of issues, from maintaining high conservation values to community relations and workers’ rights, as well as monitoring the environmental and social impacts of the forest management.

Steve Boyle, Bunji Printing,Leamington, FSC

Steve said: “Now that my business is established, we want to be able to say, as a printing and stationery company, that we’re doing our bit.

“Businesses have a social responsibility to try and clean up their act. More and more this is a mantra we need to live by, especially as there is increasing demand from the customer. Everybody has got to do what is within their powers as a business or individual, and as a printer I’m acutely aware our impact can be greater than most.”

He added: “What is happening in certain parts of the world falls far short of what’s needed to sustain our forests long term, such as in the Amazon which is being decimated. But best practice in businesses of all sizes can continue to make a difference.”

Steve is enjoying huge success with Bunji, which, since being established in February 2020, has secured a handful of international clients. He now has plans for growth as part of a forecast million-pound turnover next year.

The business, based on Heathcote Industrial Estate, specialises in all forms of printing across thousands of products and recently secured a major contract for Sporting House, an Olympian-founded organisation that delivers sports academies and coaching across the UK, including Beth Tweddle Gymnastics and Becky Adlington’s Swim Stars.

As part of the newly won accreditation, Bunji also satisfied auditors on a wealth of other criteria including staff training, improved paper recycling and additional on-site provision.

Steve added: “With FSC there is a chain of custody from supplier right through to paper wholesaler, paper mill, the pulp and Forestry Commission. I can track  right back to which forest and even tree, my paper has come from and the date it was manufactured.

“At the end of the day, I want more people to be able to have that peace of mind that they are being supplied by an ethically sound company and I encourage others to do the same.”

Visit Bunji HERE

Steve Boyle, Bunji Printing,Leamington, FSC

Factfile:

  • It takes 20 tonnes of water to produce one tonne of recyclable paper but half that for normal paper.
  • Since its foundation in 1994, FSC has grown to become the world’s most respected and widespread forest certification system.
  • It now covers more than 195 million hectares of forest and enables businesses and consumers to choose wood, paper and other forest products made with materials that support responsible forestry.
  •  Deforestation and forest degradation are the biggest threats to forests worldwide. Deforestation occurs when forests are converted to non-forest uses, such as agriculture and road construction. Forest degradation occurs when forest ecosystems lose their capacity to provide important goods and services to people and nature.
  • The paper, pulp and print sector is actually one of the lowest industrial emitters of greenhouse gases, accounting for 0.8% of European emissions.
Sky-high fundraising ambitions for brave Steve

Sky-high fundraising ambitions for brave Steve

Stephen Pratt, Tracie Mills, fundraising

A kind-hearted Nuneaton fundraiser took to the skies for an adrenaline-fuelled challenge in honour of a brave Rugby woman who is dying from cancer.

Stephen Pratt, from Whitestone, raised more than £800 after performing a daring loop the loop in a glider on Saturday in aid of Arden Angels, founded by Tracie Mills.

Stephen Pratt, Tracie Mills, fundraising
Tracie Mills

Tracie, 52, and her Angels have raised around £85,000 to support local breast surgery clinics and have already provided 20 new chemo chairs at the Arden Centre through a series of community-based fundraisers. They also donated £30,000 to the new breast cancer centre at St Cross.

Other fundraising events have included skydives, head shaves, fancy dress pub crawls, monthly bingo and ‘I’m an Angel, Get Me Out Of Here’ challenge. The next event, planned for June, is Strictly Come Dancing.

Steve, 54, said: “It was a life-changing experience. Thoughts of Tracie and her charity kept me going.

“I’ve always wanted to fly an aircraft and this seemed like the perfect challenge.

He added: “I was more excited than nervous. Tracie is an amazing woman who has shown such bravery.”

The stunt took place at The Gliding Centre, Husbands Bosworth under the expert guidance of aerobatic stunt pilot Rob Barsby, team flight leader of Aerosparx.

It is a cause very close to the heart of the father of four who was diagnosed with muscle cancer in his 20s after the discovery of a soft part alveoli sarcoma in his right thigh during routine varicose vein surgery.

Steve said: “My varicose veins were removed plus the additional matchbox-sized tumour. Follow-up treatment consisted of further removal of surrounding thigh muscle and a course of radiotherapy.

“It was mentioned that I would have a remaining lifespan of approximately five years if the tumour was left untreated and a further option would’ve been amputation. I feel very lucky to still be here.”

Stephen Pratt, Tracie Mills, fundraising
Lucie Green and Stephen Pratt with aerobatic stunt pilot Rob Barsby

Steve’s partner Lucie Green, also from Whitestone, was diagnosed with breast cancer just before Christmas and is about to undergo a course of radiotherapy. They have both received treatment at the Arden Centre.

In 2013 Tracie Mills was diagnosed with breast cancer and has since undergone intensive chemotherapy and a double mastectomy, treated at Rugby’s Hospital of St Cross and University Hospital in Coventry.

She said: “I am still here fighting the good fight for now. Some days are harder than others, supported by my wonderful wife and son and amazing friends, family and Arden Angels. I do not think there will ever be enough words for me to thank them all. I am truly grateful and will carry you all with me to the angels when my time comes. I’ll forever be humbled by people’s kindness. Every penny counts.”

To donate, visit HERE or HERE

Review: The Way Old Friends Do

Review: The Way Old Friends Do

Ian Hallard (Peter), Rose Shalloo (Jodie), Sara Crowe (Mrs Campbell), James Bradshaw (Edward) in The Way Old Friends Do. Photos by Darren Bell.

‘You cannot assess a person’s integrity and ability simply by whether or not they like ABBA.’

This is just one of many memorable one-liners from this brilliantly funny show.

In 1988, two school friends tentatively come out to one another: one as gay, the other – more shockingly – as an ABBA fan. Nearly thirty years later, a chance meeting sets them on a brand-new path and they decide to form the world’s first ABBA tribute band – in drag! But can their friendship survive the tribulations of a life on the road which includes platform boots, fake beards and a distractingly attractive stranger?

The Way Old Friends Do, Birmingham Rep
James Bradshaw (Edward) and Andrew Horton (Christian).

The Way Old Friends Do, Rep Theatre, Birmingham

Simultaneously tender and laugh-out-loud funny, this heartfelt story is written by and stars Ian Hallard and directed by his real life partner Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, Dracula, Doctor Who, The League of Gentlemen).

The show brought an unexpected turn in the spotlight for Tariyé Peterside, understudy to all three of the show’s female roles. Peterside has recently been standing in for Sara Crowe in the role of Mrs Campbell, an accompanist for the local am-dram society – but you’d never guess it. Her one-liners were among those which evoked the most riotous laughs and whose character proved my personal favourite on the night.

But there were solid performances turned in from all concerned in what was a perfectly packaged piece of comedy-drama, punctuated with an Abba soundtrack.

Also featuring the voices of two of the UK’s most familiar performers, Miriam Margolyes and Paul O’Grady, this uplifting play is a breath of fresh air.

Fitting too then that TWTFD is set in Birmingham, the home of its world premiere performance, before embarking on a tour of the UK, including London.

The Way Old Friends Do, Rep Theatre, Birmingham

Hallard has penned a genuine love letter to ABBA but that’s not to say this show is only for die-hard fans of the super troupers (albeit I am one of them!) This is at its heart a touching story about trust and enduring friendship and being true to oneself.

It’s also a story that will appeal to anyone who understands how it feels to be a fan: of ABBA – or of anyone. A celebration of friendship – and Dancing Queens – everywhere. Lots of fun.

The Way Old Friends Do is playing at The Rep until Saturday, 4th March. To book tickets visit here call 0121 236 4455.

Elvis artist promises to have you All Shook Up at Warwick Spice

Elvis artist promises to have you All Shook Up at Warwick Spice

Gary Glenn, Warwick Spice, Elvis Presley

There’ll be A Little Less Conversation but you certainly won’t be Lonesome Tonight when Warwick Spice hosts one of the country’s leading Elvis tribute artists next week.

An Evening With Gary Glenn returns to the Smith Street restaurant on March 1st with hits from the King of Rock and Roll as well as other artists from across the decades, including Dean Martin, Neil Diamond, Van Morrison, Tom Jones and Robbie Williams.

Gary, from London, has toured with his Greatest Showman act for more than 30 years and is hailed as being the first entertainer to bring live music to Indian restaurants in the UK.

He said: “I’m looking forward to returning to Warwick Spice. I’ve been performing here for more than 25 years and it’s always a good night with a great crowd and friendly staff.”

Tickets for the event cost £42.90 per head, and include live entertainment and a three-course meal.

A spokesperson for the restaurant said: “We are delighted to be able to bring back our popular entertainment nights following the pandemic and Gary Glenn is a firm favourite here. It is a night of singing and good food that always results in a fabulous night – and wonderful feedback.”

Warwick Spice, in Smith Street, has been a firm favourite for diners for 23 years, with a carefully crafted menu which offers a wide variety of Indian and Bangladeshi cuisines.

Gary Glenn, Warwick Spice, Elvis Presley
Photo by Everybody Smile Photography

The restaurant has also accumulated a host of culinary awards over the years, including Top 10 Indian Restaurant in UK two years running.

More information and tickets for the event are available here

Tickets are also available on 01926 491736 or 01926 400402.