I spoke to Head Brewer Will Twomey about discovering the burglary and how he feels about the incident. It's a surprisingly positive read.

So before we start I just want to remind you that Will was at the Brewery before 6am, it was pitch black and he hadn’t yet had a coffee.

W – As I drove down the side of the building I definitely saw the Taproom door smashed and thought ‘that was a bit weird…’ but carried on  and as I drove round the corner I saw all the detritus coming from the back door with the door hanging off its hinges and all the block work just hanging out of the wall and again I just thought ‘that’s really weird, what’s going on’. Where the staff room should have been I could see straight into the server room and I was like wtf, wtaf, I couldn’t figure out what I was looking at. I was just like wtf is going on and just sat in my car for 30 seconds trying to process things. Then I called the police, so I got out but didn’t want to go in, in case someone might still be in there. For some reason I thought it was a great idea to leave the engine running and the lights on…

They could have just jumped in and driven off, perfect escape! I waited a few minutes and thought they obviously weren’t there anymore so I walked in like fully CSI, think of the DNA, don’t contaminate the crime scene, so I got my car key and used it to turn on the lights so I didn’t smudge any fingerprints…why would they turn on the lights?! They’re burglars! Why would they do that?! When I realised there really wasn’t anyone there, I just went in and got on with work, just cracked on with it and kept an eye out for the police. It was a fight or flight response, like if they’re still here wtf am I going to do?! When I first went in I was like shit, they’d obviously just strapped something to the safe, run a rope to the back of a vehicle and pulled it out through the wall with such force that the fridge that had been behind where the safe used to be was thrown to the other side of the room.

K – When you sent  that picture at 6am it made me so tearful, I couldn’t believe someone could do that, it still seems so surreal.

W – When something like this happens your heads just not in the game, we had a load of beer to pack, we had a customer that needed their beer to be ready the next day for collection and because of my discombobulated state I didn’t even get the pack line set up until about half two and the lads had to run late. None of this is about the money, it’s the fact that it’s so disruptive to us, we’re already under pressure, we’re a small team trying to get this thing cooking & running smoothly and we’ve already had so many problems and set-backs, but you’re like fine, I’ll take another kick I the teeth, I’ll keep going. You think that everything that could possibly go wrong has gone wrong and the next thing you’re like ok, well someone just pulled the safe out the back of the building and took half the building with it! I suppose it puts you in good stead like no matter how many times you get kicked and no matter how many times things go wrong you’ve just got to remain completely focussed. This is a bad thing that’s happened but we’re not going to let it get us down, if you let the bad stuff ruin your life you’ll have a terrible time, you’ve just got to keep pushing on and making the best of the situation. We all work so hard to make a success of the business, we have a great team and this incident feels so personal. I’ve personally given 13 years of my life to the Brewery and the last three years have been the hardest emotionally and physically that I’ve ever worked, and I hope it’s going to be the hardest I’ve ever worked. When everything calms down a bit I want to be able to look back and feel like I’ve achieved a hell of a lot, the fact that someone would be so disrespectful is so insulting. This is my life’s work ffs!

Thank you so much to the community, we’ve been bombarded with messages of support and offers of help it’s completely overwhelming. I’ve never worked for another brewery, I’ve always worked for WBB and I’ve always felt I’m in this little bubble, the world of beer seems to go on around me. I’m not a gregarious person, I like to spend time with people I know because I find that whole process of getting to know new people excruciatingly difficult. Seeing all this support makes me realise I’m not in a bubble, West Berkshire Brewery is part of the community and people’s generosity is blowing my mind. As a brewery in the middle of no where it’s easy for us to feel isolated and having gone through something so horrible it’s made us realise what a close knit local and beer community we have and how great it is to be part of it, we’re so thankful.

Will Twomey’s words written by Katy Twomey

 

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