The Fuller’s Griffin Brewery has just opened its new ‘visitor experience’ / shop. What makes it a ‘visitor experience’ as opposed to just a shop is the Pilot Brewery at the back, where small batch beers will be brewed, trying out new recipes in collaboration with other brewers and the tasting bar where you can sample and buy.
The visitor experience new general manager Paul Davies showed me round while they were still frantically unpacking boxes.
In some ways it’s like taking a step back into the past. Not only is the Pilot Brewery craft brewing in batches of 1,500 litres, but once it starts production you will be able to buy your glass jug, a ‘growler’, fill it with the beer of your choice, take it home to drink it and bring it back for a refill, with either the latest Pilot brew or one of Fuller’s classic beers.
In other ways it’s very 21st century, reminiscent of a Disney or a theme park shop with everything you could possibly want that could conceivably be associated with Fuller’s – all the beers and ciders, obvs, but also wines exclusive to the Fuller’s shop, spirits and food from the Fuller’s kitchen, T shirts, hoodies, tote bags and satchels, beer mats, bottle openers, key rings … One nice touch is that they have on sale prints and playing cards designed by James, one of their dray men, which you can see on the wall in this photo.
Tours of the brewery, which take place every day of the week except Sunday, will now depart from the desk at the entrance to the shop. The tours are well worth doing, as the history and the process of brewing is really interesting and you are plied with samples. The tasting tour normally costs £20 but is available free to Chiswick Calendar Club Card members. Go here for details.