The Hastings Project, run by Ed and Robbie, is a not-for-profit brewery on a mission to bring beautiful brews to the town, all while raising money for local charities. With a focus on meaningful training and employment, we had to find out more.
We love what you guys do at The Hastings Project; can you tell us how your vision started out?
The first conversation happened around seven years ago, when we met in a pub with some other pals. After chatting about our homebrews (successful and not so…) and a desire to turn it into a career, we realised we wanted to create something together. We wanted to do something that made us happy, that we had a passion for and that could also have a positive impact on the people around us. A few years down the line and, collectively, we had years of experience working in the beer and brewing industry and of working in the Social Care sector. We decided to pull all that experience together as well as our passion for beer and brewing and create a not-for-profit brewery that would directly support Hastings and the local community.
The Hastings Project’s vision is to make excellent beer, maximise profits to donate to local charitable and social care projects and to create positive and tangible change within the wider community.
We are very grateful that you have chosen Little Gate as a charity to support, why did you choose us?
Ed has worked in the social care sector for a number of years and has seen the challenges first-hand that people with learning disabilities face either when getting into paid work, or being given equal opportunities. When we read into all that Little Gate Farm does, it was a breath of fresh air, and we were really excited to reach out and see if we could help in any way. From the first visit to the farm, we were blown away! The charity’s vision, drive and commitment is incredibly inspiring and we are very proud of the opportunity to help where we can.
You also raise funds for The Refugee Buddy Project, why did you choose to support them?
Living in Hastings, it’s impossible to ignore the refugee crisis that is happening across the world. Refugees have been landing on the local beaches with no possessions and nowhere to go. The Refugee Buddy Project are a shining light in the dark for these people and do incredible work to make them feel welcome and support them to have a safe place to be whilst in Hastings. They are relentless in their fight for the people they support, and we have been incredibly moved by the positive impact they have made on the community.
As a Supported Employment charity, we’d love to hear more about the meaningful employment, training, and apprenticeships you are looking to offer.
One of the main objectives we discussed when setting out the idea for The Hastings Project was to offer meaningful, well paid work to people in the local area. We both recognise that training and investment in the people who work for The Hastings Project are crucial to the success of any business in the long term, and the longer our business is around, the more people we can offer training and employment to, and the more causes we can support.
We want to give people the skills they need to have a good career, either staying with us long term or moving on elsewhere, which is why we are looking to work with the HIT Training Academy on their brewing apprenticeship scheme. This is a level 4 assessment and can act as a stepping stone towards becoming a Master Brewer. Having spoken and listened to brewers who’ve been through this scheme, it’s clearly a great way for them to progress personally and in the industry.
Recognising the fantastic work of Little Gate Farm, our aim is also to employ and train people from the local community with learning disabilities. Inspired by the success of Ignition Brewery in Sydenham, it has shown us that we can create an inclusive and thriving working environment. We’re looking to work with the Institute of Brewing and Distilling on developing a specific training programme.
What’s next on the horizon for The Hasting Project?
In the short term, we’re launching our Pilsner in March. We’re also going to be brewing more beer, perfecting our core recipes which will be available across Hastings and St. Leonards, planning a small beer festival for later in the year and continuing the hunt for that elusive funding! The aim is to have our brewery + tap by early 2024.
Lastly, please tell us where we can get our hands on The Hastings Project’s latest brews!
We’ve JUST sold out of our bitter, however I believe there are still some cans left in Eel and Bear and Collected Fictions! But, our Pilsner will be on sale from the first weekend of March and we are launching it on the evening of the 2nd March at The Seadog pub in Hastings so come and say hello and enjoy a pint! This will be brewed to support the brilliant work done by the HVA and their Hastings and Rother Food Network.
A huge thank you to The Hastings Project for all their support at Little Gate Supported Employment. Check out The Hastings Project for their latest brews, events, and more info on the charities they support.