Award-winning Brewer of Southbourne, Dorset; “If I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna do it myself and how I want to do it” says Jennifer Tingay.
Sitting next to the uniquely packaged bottles of homegrown ale and listening to the murmurs of the latest football game, is Jennifer Tingay, smiley brewer from the suburbs of Bournemouth.
Tingay, 37, and owner of Southbourne Ales, has won 2 awards in the space of 14 demanding months for her brewing. With gratitude given to her partner, who she described as a ‘saint’ for cooking her dinner every night, she made her first brew on the New Year’s Eve of 2013.
Two years ago, she turned down the opportunity for new work, as it would have meant her moving away from her family and Bournemouth; the area she loves. Not too long after, she took up an evening degree in brewing so she could pursue her passion and learn how to set up her very own brewery business.
Previously working as the Quality Manager at Ringwood Brewery for 7.5 years and having history in working in pubs and off licenses, she knew she had made the right decision. Already familiar with the drinks industry, she then decided to devise a business plan.
She noticed the real push for new and exciting beers, “It’s almost a competition for who can make the craziest beer,” she said.
She decided to create 4 permanent beers (Paddler, Sunbather, Beach Comber, Headlander) and 4 seasonal ones (Cliff Riser, Grockles, Lake Swimmer, Stroller).
“I want to create beers for people to see on a bar and know they will like,” she added.
Motivated by excelling within herself and being the first entrepreneur within her family, she hopes that other companies will consider investing in her business.
In April she anticipates to raise £150,000 as part of her crowd fundraiser so she can expand her business by buying equipment and setting up a new building to the correct standard to ensure high quality brewing.
“I want to make sure I get it right at the beginning” she said.
Waking up at 4am to brew in the spare capacity of Lyme Regis - she does it all herself. From the delivery to the designs, right down to the paperwork, Southbourne Ales is a one-woman show – she is a genuinely hard worker.
“Whatever I put in is whatever I get out,” she says. Despite the fact she doesn’t own her own premises, she still manages to supply to bars, restaurants, hotels and off licenses as she builds up her brand so her logo can become recognisable.
“I want people to say: oh I’ve heard of them. And I’ve heard good things,” she explains.
Voted by the readers of Dorset Magazine, for ‘Best New Business in the Food and Drinks Farming Awards’ last autumn, Tingay has recently been informed that she will be presented a silver medal for the International Brewing Awards (established in 1866).
“To get a silver medal without even having my own brewery is amazing” she said.
As we sit round a table in what used to be ‘The Gander on the Green’, her favourite childhood hangout, she tells us she is coming to “the end of [her] first stage of building [her] brand awareness.”
She said, “[She] wants to have a brewery, 50 barrel a plant. [She] wants to have a workforce with people coming in and being trained up to become experts in their own field, whether it’s learning how to brew or how to sell products.”
Wanting to increase the range of employment opportunities she emphasises the importance of fulfilling people’s basic needs to make sure they have money to live on. “I want people to come to work and love it,” she says.
Having studied Environmental Science at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and now rising in the brewing industry, Tingay says “I want to do it for real and get as much on the market as possible.”
Before we finish our last drops of beer she gives sound advice to anyone who wants to become an entrepreneur. Number 1 - plan; plan everything and calculate every last penny. Number 2 – never give up, even on the rubbish days or when the bank turns you away remember tomorrows a new day and start again. And 3, before anything else, she says “enjoy what you are doing or don’t do it.”
“Take the opportunity when it comes to you and be realistic with your aim and if it doesn’t work you take another route.”