Here for the Beer

Former engineer Anthony Goddard of Goddards Brewery explains how he went from award-winning winemaker to Isle of Wight brewing pioneer, revealing plans for a smart new visitor centre near Sandown

Is there a strong beer-brewing tradition on the Isle of Wight?

There used to be lots of breweries here — mostly small pubs brewing out the back.
But then the large breweries moved in, dominating the market and sounding the death knell for smaller breweries. Eventually they struggled, too, as beer consumption dropped. When we came along in 1993, we were pretty early in the modern beer revival scene. We started with one member of staff and a few barrels of beer; now we have four brewers, nine members of staff and we make a pint of beer every 48 seconds. We’ve now outgrown our space and plans are afoot to open a smart new brewery combined with a visitor centre and a bar at Branstone Farm, Arreton, in early 2021 — watch this space.

Have you always lived on the Island?

The Isle of Wight was our holiday retreat for many years and we had a house and vineyard business at Barton Manor in Whippingham. When the Lloyd’s of London insurance group almost collapsed in the 1990s, crippling many investors such as ourselves, we had to sell up. I looked around for something else to do and came across a brewery for sale on the Island. We had already won a silver medal for our wine, so I thought why not apply that quality principle to making beer? Now 70% of the beer that we make supplies the Island, with the rest sold on the mainland. One of our best-selling beers is named after the Lloyd’s debacle, Duck’s Folly — you can work out the anagram yourself…

What are your favourite things to do on the Island?

I have a powerboat, so we like to buzz across the Solent to Beaulieu River or Lymington for lunch. Closer to home, I walk every day to keep fit. For the best views, I head up to The Pepperpot on St Catherine’s Down, a medieval lighthouse above Blackgang Chine, or I walk the length of the stunning Tennyson Down. For the best beach walk, I head to Compton Bay — it’s wild and very beautiful. I also love anything mechanical
so second on my list is a visit to The Isle of Wight Steam Railway at Havenstreet.

Where does a brewer go for a pint?

A bunch of us head to The Pointer Inn in Newchurch once a month, and I love The Lifeboat next to the marina in East Cowes. Character Inns does a good job — it’s a collection of eight family-owned free house pubs, such as The Buddle Inn in Niton and The Bugle in Yarmouth. Every year, we also get involved in the Classic Buses and Beer Weekend (10-11 October). It’s such a great event — you ride vintage buses around the Island and drink beer. What’s not to like?