Raise a glass!

Folkestone Harbour Arm welcomes pioneering Kentish beer brand and brewery Floc. to The Goods Yard

Attention all Kent beer enthusiasts – if you haven’t yet had the pleasure of discovering Floc. Brewery, now is your opportunity. This burgeoning enterprise is making waves with its delectable array of craft beers, all meticulously brewed onsite at its base in Canterbury. As we venture into 2024, the brand is embarking on an exciting expansion journey, extending its presence to the seaside town of Folkestone.

In February, Floc. made its debut at Folkestone Harbour’s popular outdoor street food plaza and events space The Goods Yard, home to 10 entirely independent bars and street-food kiosks, and with Folkestone recently being named the top place to live in the South East by the Sunday Times, the timing couldn’t be better.

Floc. has taken on the main bar in The Goods Yard, located just next to The Harbour Screen, which offers the ultimate seaside cinema experience, screening films and a range of sporting events. The brand is primed to elevate the venue’s already buzzing atmosphere, serving its core range of modern draft and canned beer, complemented by weekly specials fresh from the brewery, locally-produced Nightingale cider, cocktails by Black Lines and a select wine list.

For Floc., it all began in 2020 amidst challenging global circumstances with a simple mission: to brew exceptional beers that resonate with beer aficionados and casual drinkers alike. Rooted in a deep passion for brewing, the brewery was founded on principles of unwavering quality, relentless innovation and a strong sense of community.

The decision to expand into Folkestone Harbour, specifically at The Goods Yard, was driven by a desire to connect with a broader audience and be part of a vibrant, up-and-coming area known for its dynamic community and cultural scene. “The Goods Yard, with its unique blend of local businesses and entertainment options, presented an ideal location to introduce our distinctive range of beers to a new audience in an environment that values independence and quality,” explains Floc. founder Ross Shields.

Ross recognises that expanding beyond Canterbury presents both challenges and opportunities. He anticipates adapting Floc.’s approach to resonate with a new demographic while maintaining the essence of what makes the brand unique, stating: “Our strategy includes thorough market research, community engagement and leveraging digital platforms to build our presence. We’re excited to introduce Floc. to a wider customer base and enrich the beer landscape in Folkestone.”

Securing a spot at The Goods Yard involved a collaborative effort with the Folkestone Harbour team, who, Ross points out, have been incredibly supportive of Floc.’s vision. “Their commitment to cultivating a diverse and vibrant community aligns with our values, making this partnership a natural fit. The process included presenting our concept, demonstrating our brand’s potential in the area, and working together on the logistics of opening the bar.”

Folkestone Harbour serves as an incubator space for new and growing businesses, providing units ready for fit-out, which reduces startup capital required. Paulo Kingston-Correia, general manager of Folkestone Harbour & Seafront Development Company, explains that Floc. is the exact type of business the team wants to work with. “Floc. is a young, developing, independent business with a growing audience that fits perfectly with our market. We choose our traders knowing that they will enhance the whole offering of Folkestone Harbour. Floc. is a business we have been following and we were confident in its potential to grow given the opportunity to expand to Folkestone Harbour. Together, we shared a vision for The Goods Yard bar, granting Floc. the creative space to shape proposals and breathe life into our collective vision.”

Floc. is committed to enriching The Goods Yard’s vibrant atmosphere by providing a welcoming space where both locals and visitors can explore the world of craft beer. The objective is to elevate the overall experience for patrons of The Goods Yard through the diverse Floc. product offering, events and collaborations with fellow businesses.

Engagement with the local community is a cornerstone of Floc.’s philosophy, and the brand plans to host various events, such as beer tastings and community gatherings, to foster a sense of belonging and connection. Furthermore, Floc. aims to support local initiatives and collaborate with other businesses to contribute positively to the area’s economic and social fabric.

So, what future developments await? Floc. fans can look forward to the introduction of new beer varieties, expansion into additional locations, development of the Canterbury taproom, and further innovation in brewing technology and sustainability practices. The team is also exploring partnerships that align with Floc.’s brand values and can enhance the customer experience. “Our journey from inception to today is a testament to the power of passion, innovation and community,” says Ross. “As we look to the future, we remain committed to delivering exceptional beer experiences and contributing positively to every community we become a part of. We appreciate all the support from Folkestone Harbour and can’t wait to flourish at The Goods Yard.”

Folkestone Harbour is the firm favourite coastal food and beverage destination of Kent, and the team will continue to develop this as part of their mission to reinvent the English seaside experience. “We are dedicated to expanding and enriching the visitor experience at Folkestone Harbour through a range of exciting initiatives,” explains Paulo. “This includes the introduction of Folkestone Marketplace, featuring 35 independent retail businesses, and the debut of Gaia Studio as our inaugural retail establishment on the Harbour Arm. Additionally, we’re thrilled to introduce Adventure Golf on the shingle beach, along with a free outdoor cinema programme every Friday night from May to September.”

An extensive live music programme, running every weekend from April to September, adds another layer of vibrancy to the Harbour, and there are also plans to enhance family-friendly amenities with the addition of a play park on the beach. Paulo adds: “On top of this, we will be growing our amazing events programme, which includes Most Wuthering Heights Day, Wunder Harbour and our Festive Marketplace, and are soon-to-launch Folkestone’s first social gaming venue. Looking ahead, we are eager to establish a wellness experience and collaborate with like-minded providers who share our ethos, such as Floc.”

In the long term, the ultimate goal is to transition the Folkestone Harbour site from its temporary state to its envisioned permanent development phase. “We want all successful businesses on our site to continue on this journey with us,” concludes Paulo. “Our plans enable continuity and expansion of trade so it’s extremely important that we retain our unique offering within the future development. This approach ensures that businesses like Floc. can flourish without constraints at Folkestone Harbour, empowering them to grow and evolve alongside the site. The opportunities are boundless!”

Crafting the Floc. core beer range

Floc. offers a diverse range of beers that stand out for their complexity, balance and innovative flavour profiles. But what makes these beers truly distinctive? According to Ross, it’s the meticulous attention to detail at every stage of the brewing journey – from selecting the finest ingredients to experimenting with brewing techniques that enhance the beer’s character.

Brewing one of the core beers begins with the hop blend, where the brewing team explore new flavour profiles, ingredients and techniques. This is followed by small-scale experimental batches that allow them to refine the recipe based on feedback and sensory analysis. Once satisfied, Floc. scales up to full production, maintaining strict quality control throughout the brewing, fermentation and packaging stages. The final products are beers that reflect Floc.’s commitment to innovation and excellence.

Regarding brewing innovation, the team is currently exploring alternative grains and sustainable brewing practices that reduce the business’s environmental footprint and introduce new flavours. Collaboration with other brewers and industry friends is also in the pipeline, as Floc. aims to push the boundaries of what can be achieved in brewing.

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