Food & Drink

Brewing Brothers – experience the energy of ned and charlie

Ned and Charlie are the brothers behind Folkestone Harbour’s biggest unit – Brewing Brothers.  Located on Beachside, with views over the Adventure Golf towards the sea and fantastic sunsets, this restaurant is double the size of anything else at Folkestone Harbour.  These lads promise quality, consistency and very, very good pizza. They are, as their name suggests, brewery-lead, and this is their first tap-room this side of Hastings.  They have gained national acclaim for their other venues on the south coast and now it’s Folkestone’s turn.  Folkelife met with the brothers for a tour of the business.

Ned: “Charlie and I used to run a country pub, and they’re quite difficult, more difficult than running a pub in a town.  We always would take a break in January and it was 2014 when we took a holiday to the USA.  They don’t have the same era of pubs as we have over here and it was really interesting to see what they were doing.  Essentially, the pub was based around the brewery and they were brewing some really nice beers.”

Charlie: “We came back from there and although we knew nothing about brewing beer we started to learn.  I have to say, looking back on the stuff we made to begin with it was probably quite disgusting!  Nothing like what we’re doing now.  We still dapple but we have our chief brewer Billy working with us.  He was a keen home-brewer and was happy to give it a go with us, with a new pub based in Hastings, in the town.  It’s so nice to be young and naive!  We thought, ‘yeah, let’s give it a go with this 400 litre kit’ that we stuck behind the bar!”

london or folkestone

Charlie “The pub launched in 2016 and we would brew our core mix with some seasonal variations and it worked.  With 400 litres you pretty much sell out quickly, and we could make a batch every two weeks. That year before Covid things were pretty dreamy, it was all working out ok…”

Ned: “Yes, all was going well and we were considering buying a venue in London to expand.  To do that we’d need a bigger brewery and you have to buy them 6 months in advance.  We’d got this one, paid for it and well, you can’t really predict Covid can you?”

Brewing Brothers Team Credit Matt Rowe
Ned Car Credit Matt Rowe

Brewing Brothers Cans Credit Matt Rowe
Brewing Brothers Oven
Brewing Brothers Pizza

Ahead of our time

Charlie: “We were up in London in the March of 2020 and looking at the site we were going to open.  There were investors lined up and it all looked as though it was going really well.  Then Covid started happening.  Things closed up, the investors pulled out and we were left with a £35,000 brewery to pay off and no one allowed out to drink beer.”

Charlie: “We found the cheapest place to rent in Hastings, a warehouse really, set up in there and started to brew.  People said we were ahead of our time but really we had a big bill to pay off and so had to do something.  Part of our offering in the pub had been homemade pizzas, so we started to bake pizza and sell beer in cans.  Both Ned and I have our motorbike licenses so we’d cycle around Hastings delivering pizza and beer to people’s doors.  We were the first to be doing that so really cornered the market in those first few months.”

Ned: “You’d wake up in the morning, make 500 cans of beer with our canning machine that just did one can at a time… then bake the pizza and off we’d go.  One thing we pride ourselves on, in every business we run, is that we are consistently good and reliable.  We were open every day and delivered everywhere so that people got exactly what they ordered.  We do that to this day, you know what you’re going to get when you come to one of our venues.”

the south coast

Charlie: “We grew up on the Kent/Sussex boarder and really love the south coast.  As things opened up after Covid it was clear we didn’t want to go to London after all.  We’ve often come down to Folkestone and have seen it change from year to year.  Now it seems like the place we really need to be. Brewing Brothers Beachside is just like our other venues in that it will be consistently good, with reliable good food and beer.  We love a party, and we want the vibe of our venue to be that place you go knowing you’ll have a good party when you get there.”

Ned: “We work really hard on creating that relaxed atmosphere, and it’s the place that we want to go out to to wind down and have a good time.  The music is really important, and so we work hard on the playlists you’ll hear.  We’ve got our huge Italian pizza oven; this thing takes 4 days to get up to heat when we use it for the first time.  It’s exciting!  Once it’s on though we’ll make good use of the heat by cooking meats slowly overnight, and then whacking it up to full heat for the pizzas during the day. There will be dishes ‘from the oven’ which means we’re offering more than just pizza, and we must serve some seafood being so close to the sea!”

lucky brothers

Charlie: “Our head chef, Dan, is an Italian pizza chef.  It was quite a funny story on how we met him.  Ned had called me saying we really needed a chef ‘right now’ and I was in the middle of painting one of our other venues.  Dan was with me, painting away, and I put the phone down and moaned about how we needed to find someone and where would I start looking?  Dan then quietly said ‘Oh, I’m a chef’… and it turned out he was a trained pizza chef.  I knew he was Italian anyway.  How perfect was that?!  So he started working with us and is now in charge of all our food at our different venues.”

organic growth

Ned: “We had looked at coming to Folkestone before and at a building here on the Arm to run a restaurant with table service.  That wasn’t what we wanted to do at the time, then Paulo (General Manager of Folkestone Harbour & Seafront) came back to us with the idea of these containers that we’re taking over now.  Everything we do grows organically.  I don’t think you can push yourself into something, it has to work for you and your team.  Our place in Hastings, the Imperial, has grown organically and it has a real loyal following.  That’s important to us and what we want to do here in Folkestone.  You want to know you’re going to get good food, and a good informal vibe, come to Brewing Brothers.”

Charlie: “I’m really excited about this.  I love doing new projects and Folkestone is going to be really fun for us.”

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The Beer Shop – Drink In or Take Away
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The Place To Be – Folkestone Harbour

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