When local entrepreneur Matt Calais along with his wife Cathy decided to give up the daily grind of living and working in London to take the major step of moving down to Lydd on Sea, they hadn’t fully decided on what they were going to do next.
Matt worked for ITV as a producer of the award winning Channel 4 programme ‘Come Dine With Me’ and Cathy worked as an adviser in National Government. They looked at options for work, but decided that they really were not suited to 9-5 jobs, so they started looking at options for setting up their own business.
Matt told The Looker: “I always enjoyed brewing beer at home and decided to take it to the next logical step. With ‘Micro Breweries’ having a massive revival we decided to sell up our home in London, and did not fancy the 4 hours every day wasted in commuting. So we went for it and set up our own brewery. One of the challenges that I have really enjoyed has been building the brand and the marketing.”
From very early on it was a family affair, with Matt’s mother and father doing their bit to help out. Matt said: “The Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Railway were our first customers and have been very supportive of us, so when the opportunity came along to sponsor the Bar Car it was a no brainer, we always wanted a ‘Tap Room’ for the brewery, but our premises at Mountfield Industrial Estate did not really lend itself to this, so we approached the railway, to see if we could launch our own Ale Shed at Dungeness station.”
Keeping with the family tradition, Matt’s sister-in-law has flown in from her home in Kentucky, USA to help out for the summer.
The Railway officially launched the Romney Marsh Brewery liveried Bar Car on Friday the 16th June in conjunction with the new ‘Ales By The Rails’ ale shack at Dungeness station.
A special train marked the occasion with a group of invited guests to commemorate the event, including local MP Damian Collins and recently elected New Romney Town Mayor Peter Coe.
Matt said: “It really is so nice to see the beer garden busy on the first day, and people enjoying the beer.”
The railway also hosts an ale festival this weekend where you try both Romney Marsh Brewery ales but also a host of other local ales and ciders.