Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Unacceptable service on quote for connection upgrade

Copy of e-mail to British Gas Connections :

Customer Ref. # xyz and uvw

In preparation for taking possession of a commercial property to install and run a small brewery, I asked British Gas (BG) to quote on upgrading the existing supply, as we needed greater capacity than currently available. I received a quote on 25/06/2009 for £-,---.91; I determined that the dig could be done more cheaply, and asked for another quote solely for connection and meter upgrade - i.e. without the groundwork.

This second quote was requested in September. I repeatedly called the BG project manager but there was no answer and the message box was full; when I spoke to a colleague, I was assured that the quote would be delivered.

On 2nd December I spoke to a person presented as a manager of the connections team, and he personally assured me that the quote would be delivered by the end of the week.

The quote was delivered 15th December. Unfortunately it is on exactly the same basis as the original quote (i.e. my request for a quote excluding groundworks was ignored), but at the higher price of £-,---.66.

Effectively BG has taken 6 months to tell me that connections costs have risen by 5%; this is farcical, as well as worrying for Mr. Darling - his budget does not seem to have accounted for inflation at 10%. For reasons beyond our control, we have been delayed in business start-up; otherwise, this appalling service from BG would have effectively put us out of business, as gas is a critical utility for the brewery.

With this degree of difficulty in merely obtaining a quote, I dread the prospect of actually having connections work done, let alone the continuing service and billing. There is now little prospect of us taking up British Gas as a supplier, much to the relief of my commercial neighbours - I note this "Special Feature" of the proposed work :

"The top surface material on private property is not reinstated to a permanent standard but is reinstated with a temporary material."

Coincidentally, I had a gentleman around trying to sell me domestic gas and electricity service from British Gas; I think he is now a little peeved with your business service for queering the pitch for his residential customer prospects.

cc: http://blog.tattonbrewery.co.uk

Sunday, 13 December 2009

The Ugly Duckling : Ornithological footnote

To illustrate the transformation we are expecting, two specimens from a clear crisp sunny morning in Tatton Park. We doubt the container will float this well, but the general principle stands.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

The Ugly Duckling : Moving Pictures

Shed, no tears - though Henry did feel the pressure.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Oops! #1

Drainage channels on site. Upon inspection, however, the gratings that sit on top of the channel will not do; spent grain & yeast sludge will clog. The ones we want are not available in the U.K., so we start negotiating with our cousins over the pond...

The Ugly Duckling : Chapter 1

This tatty chappy will be given a new coat and insulated lining to become our cold store for casks ready for the dray. Good deal and excellent service from Pennine Services.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Are the Visigoths next?

Early start on site this morning to survey for boiler installation. Unfortunately we discovered a vandalised digger outside the neighbouring unit, which had itself been dented and spastically damaged. A few other properties on the estate had suffered similar mindless muggings, but no major losses.
Our contractors helped our neighbour break into his own office through the damaged door. When I asked the policeman who attended if, with the property vulnerable, the police could provide extra security overnight. Well, no. Remind me : what do we pay business rates for? Perhaps the Police Pledge will improve things.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009


Groundworks started, cutting the drainage trench and digging the inspection chamber.

We also dug up a rather neat Toyota electric forklift; now all we need is some electricity. If anyone can recommend a cheap, environmentally-friendly and efficient electricity supplier, we - and the rest of the nation - would love to hear from you.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Baby Steps - Refurbishment done...

Following clean-up and a splash of paint, the premises are looking ready to be made into a brewery :

Thursday, 24 September 2009

X for Exceedingly Exciting

During a summer holiday in Sweden, the little horrors scavenged the woods for exotic fruit, and the cupboards for rare and mysterious ingredients; these they combined in an arcane ritual to produce the mythical X Cake. What does this have to do with beer? Well, yesterday we toddled off to those very nice people at Roosters to run a test brew, incorporating our own mysterious ingredients. Inevitably this experimental brew is now known as X Beer; with a little luck and some magic, it will be even more scrumptious than the legendary X Cake.

Hops go in to the boil...

...producing a lovely bright wort, thanks to Sam's diligence.

Pitching the yeast.

First report of fermentation after 24 hours :
1040 down to 1026 at 2.30pm Tastes fine, malty toffee. Lightish body. Nice malt finish. So far - so good.
X Beer will be casked and bottled for tasting in October; progress will be reported here.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

First tangible progress

We moved some tanks in last month - from Korea. Thanks to Sam and Mike for muscle, Terry's for the forklift, Colin for supervision and various urchins for not getting in the way too much. These tanks are made by Specific Mechanical; three stainless steel 20 hl fermentation vessels, and a 10 hl conditioning tank in shiny lacquered copper. We should have had a second pretty copper 20 hl conditioning tank, but that was damaged during decommissioning, and leaves us short of capacity. The silver lining is that the four tanks fitted in a single 40 ft. container; the air in the container was redolent of teak (flooring), and invoked nostalgia for Womble.

One of the little urchins recorded this video snippet :

The premises are pretty tatty at the moment; refurbishment is under way...