Historic 17th century barn and brewery burns to ground after lightning strike

Some 8,000 litres of alcohol was destroyed in the freak accident on Sunday when the family-owned Good Things Brewery Co in Kent was set ablaze.

A 17th century barn and brewery has burned down after being struck by lightning, with 8,000 litres of alcohol destroyed.

The Good Things Brewery Co in Eridge, near Tunbridge Wells in Kent, burst into flames on Sunday night, ruining 1,750 gallons of beer.

Founder Chris Drummond said he and his team are “deeply saddened” by the fire that ripped through the brewery.

He said: “Our beloved 17th century barn, the home to our brewery was struck by lightning and has sadly burned to the ground.

“Thankfully the team and I are all safe and no one was hurt.

“The barn is something our family and brew team treasured with so many fond memories and we are deeply saddened but we are very thankful no one was on site today.”

Operations manager Charlie Young said that they lost about 8,000 litres of alcohol in the blaze from the four tanks in the building.

The building lost power, meaning it could not regulate the heat of liquid in two containers outside, which were also ruined.

Around 3,000 litres of new beer survived intact.

Firefighters battled the inferno for hours and stopped the flames spreading to other buildings belonging to the business, such as the office and a stock room where the beer is kept before deliveries.

Charlie said: “It was about 12.50pm on Sunday, I got a call from one of my friends who happened to be on the farm, he said he heard a big old bang. He saw this fire and almost knew instantly that there was nothing he could do about it.

“He phoned the fire service and they got here within 10 to 15 minutes with one truck, then realised they needed a lot more than one, it’s a 17th-century building with chemicals and gases.

“Inside we have got four tanks which have all just completely gone, one of the tops one of them has completely exploded off. We also had a canning line for the packaging, I think that’s gone.

“It’s really sad, we have lost everything. It’s a building that has a lot of memories in it.”

The barn opened for brewing in April 2019 after work began on making it self-sustainable in 2018.

Chris, who got married at the barn, revealed he plans to set up a fundraiser in the coming days to help get the brewery back on its feet.

Charlie said they were due to bring out four new beers this week and had tasting events planned at the brewery over the next four weeks.

The fire has also held up plans for more products to be released, the brewery bosses said.

A fundraiser for the company has so far raised nearly £4,000.

Charlie added: “We will come back from this, it just might take a little bit of time.”

The shocking news was met with hundreds of messages of support from customers and other breweries around the country.

Emma Inch said: “Terrible news. Quite apart from how devastating this is for the brewery, this 17th century barn held so much personal history for Chris & his family.

“All at the brewery have worked so hard over the past few years to create a sustainable, innovative brewery. Love to all.”

While Paul Jones added: “Absolutely gutted for you all. Heart-breaking, but so glad nobody was on site to get hurt.

“Please keep your spirits up knowing that a great many of us are rooting you and for a swift and full recovery of operations as soon as practicable.”