While it's clear COVID isn't going anywhere soon, the world is learning to live with it and similarly, at Pinnora Brewing, we have been adapting many of our working practices and our brewery to better cope with life after a pandemic.
When we moved into our first commercial premises back in November 2018, we spent most of our time pilot brewing on our 2HL kit and planning our range of beers for sale. We released our first commercial beer Spring Ekuanot in March of 2019 and received an overwhelmingly positive response, which led to a number of sales enquiries and admittedly far more demand than we could manage. We knew we had to increase our brewhouse size and quantity of fermenters and started planning for our future, which included some very exciting contract agreements.
Unfortunately COVID had other ideas, and just weeks before we were to release the Official beer of the Chelsea Pensioners, the Government placed the Country into lockdown - no explanation is needed for what happened next. While we were in a fortunate position to be able to temporarily suspend our operations, without the need to lay off or furlough staff and with only minimal commercial overheads, unfortunately the beer that we had worked so hard to produce up to that time had to be discarded and we lost a considerable investment in the time and raw materials put into this.
Also, prior to lockdown, we were offered the opportunity of expanding into our next door unit, but sadly this also fell-through as a result of the pandemic. Once it became clear that COVID wasn't going to be quickly eradicated, we knew we had to pivot and decided that we would use the opportunity of the considerable down-time to refurbish our premises instead and prepare it for our future needs. This included the installation of a new three-phase power supply and other specifications that we knew we'd need as the business grew.
Fast-forward to Summer 2021 and things were beginning to look more optimistic; vaccinations were in full roll-out, pubs and restaurants were opening again both indoors and out, and there was an air of hope for the first time in 18-months. Unfortunately at Pinnora, we were facing complex ongoing issues with our electrical infrastructure upgrades at this time, so were only able to resume business in a limited way. We spent most of the Summer attending beer festivals and getting tasters, that we'd been developing in our experimental BrewLab, out to London drinkers, but we were still not fully operational due to the extensive building works taking place.
After what seemed like an eternity, our new electrical installations were completed, signed off and commissioned in January of this year. We then focused on restoring the unit to operational use, installing ventilation and essentially making it fit for purpose. Just over 2 years after the first COVID lockdowns started, we're now just weeks away from the completion of our brewery's renovations and with it the opportunity to install a larger brewhouse, add extra fermenters and begin ramping up production. We're very excited to be aiming for a Summer 2022 relaunch and with it the chance for the wider public to finally enjoy the experimental products we've been piloting.
We're also excited to announce that we have also been approached once again with the opportunity of expanding into neighbouring units, and so while the hard work and renovations are due to start all over again, we're confident that this will not affect our ability to continue production throughout this time and, in the coming months, further expand our brew-length in order to meet the insatiable need of the London Craft Beer market.
We'd like to especially thank all those who have supported us and shown so much patience during this time and we look forward to sharing with you what we've been up to!