THE beer has been brewing for only six months at the Town Mill Brewery but 80 barrels have already been rolled out.

The brewery based at the Lyme Regis Town Mill is actually a microbrewery, but production is going far better than expected with three types of beer now brewing.

It was opened in March in the old battery room of the former Malthouse generating station, which has also had a new lease of life as performance and exhibition space.

Julian Shaw, managing director of Lyme Bay Brewing Ltd, said: “Since we started we have done at least 20 complete brews which amounts to 300 firkins, or about 80 barrels.

“It is going to 45 different pub or club outlets and festivals. Considering we have only been going since March, to have 45 outlets for our draft beer, it’s quite an achievement, I think.

“We are doing a lot of bottling, which was never the original business plan, and we are selling bottles to about 15 retail outlets.

“We are doing better than we thought. We seem to have good support all around, the Town Mill Trust is happy, and so are we at the moment.”

The brewery employs four people, including brewery manager Jon Hosking, and they are currently looking for someone to do deliveries.

Two of the town’s major outlets are the Royal Lion Hotel, where the first beer was introduced in March, and the Harbour Inn.

“Because we don’t do tastings in the brewery we tell people they can go down to the Harbour Inn or up to the Royal Lion to get a taste before they buy,” said Mr Shaw.

Cobb Bitter was the first beer launched, Lyme Gold was launched a couple of months ago, and coming on sale now is Black Ven.

But there are no immediate plans to produce more beers in the range because the brewery is too small to accommodate it.

Mr Shaw said: “It’s a very small space and although that in theory doesn’t limit the number of beers you can have, it does limit the number of brews you can do. In order to do the three ales we have had to increase the production quite a lot over the past few months and we have really reached the limit of what we can do in that space.

“We will need to expand at some stage but we want to make sure we can get through the winter. It’s going to be a very different business than through the tourist summer and we haven’t experienced that yet.”

But Mr Shaw is certain the Town Mill complex was the right place to set up.