CAMRA recognition for self-taught Sompting brewer working out of his garage

Ian Venton owner of Brew Studio
Ian Venton owner of Brew Studio

A microbrewery, based in the Sompting garage of a self-taught brewer, has reached a landmark by being featured in the 46th edition of the respected Good Beer Guide.

Brew Studio was one of 11 new breweries across the Surrey and Sussex region featured in the 2019 guide, which is published by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA).

Ian Venton, who has been operating the brewery for about two years from the home he shares with his wife and two young sons, said: “It’s pretty cool, it’s a bit of a landmark for Brew Studio.”

The 33-year-old started experimenting with home brewing a few years ago, and said: “I fell in love with how to make the beers and how to change recipes.”

Entirely self-taught, he admits he had ‘a lot of disappointments and bad batches along the way’ but finally hit on a high quality formula.

Ian’s garage, which the former drummer had previously used as a music studio, was converted into his brewery, resulting in the brand Brew Studio.

All of Ian’s 14 types of real cask ales have music related names, such as the Unplugged APA 4.5 per cent and the Headliner IPA 5 per cent.

Ian, who works on the business part time during the evenings and weekends, started out by making three casks of beer every two weeks.

But the business has grown to the point where he now makes ten casks a week is struggling to keep up with demand.

He works as the head brewer at a larger brewery in Horsham but hopes to soon be able to concentrate on his own brewing full time and move into larger premises.

He said of the industry: “I think it is a very fast growing market.

“And if you are ambitious and you put yourself forward, push yourself into situations, make connections in the industry, then you are almost bound to succeed.”

Ian, who was born and bred in Shoreham but has lived in Sompting since 2010, sells his ales at micropubs around the local area.

He said the rise in micropubs was a ‘sign of the times’, with three more soon to join the five already thriving in Worthing.

“You always hear that pubs are closing left right and centre – what you don’t hear is that micropubs are opening,” he said.

“People haven’t stopped drinking, they are just changing their drinking habits.”

He said people were increasingly rejecting what he calls ‘supermarket pubs’ with loud music in exchange for micropubs.

“I think people are realising that they can get a better product for their money,” he said.

“People don’t want to pay through the nose for mass produced products.

“They want to go where they can have something different and a pleasant atmosphere,

“And they enjoy supporting local businesses.

“All the places I sell to I visit frequently, I have a drink and a chat with people in there.

“That personal aspect and that local connection is really important to people.”

The Good Beer Guide 2019 is compiled through independent judgement and recommendations, and every pub that appears has been visited regularly by CAMRA members.

Tom Stainer, Chief Communications Officer at CAMRA says: “It’s fantastic to see the number of new pub entries in the Good Beer Guide 2019 and the continued growth in local brewing.

“We’ve seen such sweeping changes across the brewing and pub scene over the past year with brewing becoming more collaborative and socially-minded, and pubs continuing to diversify to cater for all tastes with the continued increase in micropubs, tap rooms and community-run pubs, each improving choice for drinkers.”

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