We celebrate Jennings’ incredible flood heroes

When floodwaters brought operations to a standstill at Jennings Brewery, our amazing teammates worked tirelessly until the brewery was back on its feet again.

Not many companies can boast a hat-trick of wins at the Publican’s Choice awards, as we’ve picked up the title of Best National Cask Ale Supplier once again. It’s not just our products that give us the edge over our competitors – it’s our teammates’ commitment to going the extra mile.

So when hell and high water confronted the Jennings team in December, after a devastating amount of rain and floods hit Cumbria – and our brewery – the clean-up that followed was a fine example of how our amazing teammates work tirelessly to keep us loved by our customers.

With the whole ground floor swamped in as much as eight feet of water in places, brewing was impossible. The power system, essential equipment, offices, restaurant, shop, vehicles and stock had all been destroyed.

One thing the water couldn’t break was our people’s incredible team spirit. They went above and beyond to get the brewery back on the road to recovery, and reduced the impact of the disaster on customers over Christmas and the New Year.

Head Brewer Jeremy Pettman saw a determined ‘Dunkirk spirit’ quickly grow in the close-knit team. “Floods like these are only supposed to happen once in a lifetime,” he said. “But this was the second time in six years.

“We simply have to brew beer because we care about our customers – so everyone realised they had to swing into action and get things done.”

From the word go, the nine-strong production team along, with Tour and Shop Manager, Janice Clements, got their wellies, waterproofs and head torches on and began the massive clean-up operation. There were huge volumes of water, silt and sludge to move, offices to be stripped out, and the restaurant and shop to be cleared of equipment and stock. As well as this exhausting manual work, they acted quickly to minimise the impact on loyal Jennings customers.

“We made sure our customers understood exactly what had happened,” said Jeremy. “We explained the problem and told them we’d be back up-and-running as quickly as we could. In the meantime, thanks to the great support of Marston’s, we were able to move production to two other sites to ensure supply wasn’t interrupted until we were able to brew again.”

Following tireless work throughout December and January, the committed team returned to brewing on 22 January.

“It was such a fantastic effort,” said Jeremy. “We’re a very small team here and we know that any problem is everyone’s problem. We’re 100% committed to this business and everyone was passionate about getting back brewing again as quickly as we could. The whole team came together and I’m proud of what we achieved.”

 

Christmas saviour

Beer Quality Technician Stuart Young went the extra mile to help his customers bounce back after the floods. The nature of Stuart’s job means he’s first port of call when a pub or hotel has issues with its beer technology. So when they found their cellars under water, it was Stuart many of them called.

His hands-on support helped bring Christmas cheer back to one of his biggest customers, Lodore Falls Hotel. The lakeside hotel is sandwiched between mountains and Derwent Water. So when the water came, it had a powerful impact.

“Part of the mountain collapsed and tonnes of rock came through its garden,” said Stuart. “The cellar was flooded by five feet of water, so there was no way they could operate the bar.”

With a huge number of Christmas party bookings on the horizon, the hotel was keen to clean up as quickly as possible. So Stuart and a teammate got to work, spending the best part of a day ripping out old equipment and cleaning up the premises, to make sure that a temporary bar could be installed and the hotel could serve its Christmas customers.

“In this job, you really get to know your customers,” said Stuart. “It goes beyond a job really and some of them become like friends. So during difficult times, if there are ways you can help, it’s important you do help.”

 

From saying thank-you to picking up an award, our teammates talk about why celebrating our successes are so important. Click below to play the mini-film.


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