Spotlight on…… Dhillon’s Brewery, Coventry

Dhillon’s Brewery, Coventry

When it comes to Coventry nightlife, Dhillon’s Brewery has become a mainstay of the city’s drinks scene.

When it comes to where to drink in Coventry, you’d be hard pushed to miss visiting one of the company’s venues, which have become a mainstay of the drinks scene in the city.

Founded in 2015, the company’s aim was to put Coventry on the beer map, pint by pint. Since then it has gone from strength to strength, winning Artisan Drink Producer of the Year; Pub/Bar of the Year and The Godiva Award at the recent Coventry & Warwickshire Foodie Awards 2021, as well as playing a role in the Coventry City of Culture 2021.

The company now runs several venues:-

  • Dhillons Brewery & Brewhouse - the award-winning microbrewery where it all started, producing exciting, beautifully crafted ales as well as Sky Blue Army Lager, the official lager of CCFC in partnership with the club. Its Brewhouse that’s not only open for tastings and tours, but opens for all Wasps and Coventry City FC Home Fixtures.
  • Dhillon’s Spire Bar - in the unique setting of Christchurch Spire, Dhillon’s Spire Bar has become a much-loved place for cocktails in Coventry as well as other drinks. As well as the spire itself, the venue offers heated cabins outside that provide somewhere different for drinks in Coventry.
  • Sky Blue Tavern - an iconic collaboration between Coventry City Football Club and Dhillon’s Brewery to bring the famous Sky Blue Tavern back to life, offering a sports bar that has Coventry at its heart
  • Dhillons Brewery is also the exclusive food & beverage partner of Drapers’ Hall, a music venue and event space housed in the historic Drapers’ Hall in the heart of the city.

Visit Coventry caught up with Kevin Sandhu, Head of Sales at Dhillon’s Brewery, to talk about all things Coventry nightlife and the journey of one of the leading microbreweries in Coventry.

What is Dhillon’s Brewery and how would you describe yourselves?

We're Coventry’s leading independent brewery. We've always had our base of operations at the brewery, opposite CBS arena and obviously over lockdown we had to kind of adapt to what was going on. An opportunity arose to open up the Spire Bar in the city centre and that allowed us to bring our ethos and what Dhillon’s Brewery is about into the city centre for people to enjoy.

We're extremely passionate about giving people a great drink experience - everyone in the Dhillon’s umbrella is there because they have a passion for it. Our brewery and taphouse aren’t in the city centre, so when people come to those they come for a reason. They leave their troubles and worries at the door and get a chance to enjoy a personalised drinking experience they wouldn't get anywhere else, which is what Dhillon’s has grown around.

Now we are able to give that to people in the city centre in the form of Spire Bar, so we are carrying our ethos across all our sites in Coventry. We now have Draper’s Hall too, and have more plans for the future too. We’re really keen on giving back to our community, so during lockdown we stopped brewing beer and instead brewed disinfectant spray which we donated to charities, the NHS, care homes, the council and local businesses. We also donated beer to NHS frontline workers and food bank staff. It was during this time that we also opened Spire Bar, bringing the Dhillon’s ethos to the city centre.

What is it about Coventry that makes it a great place for you and for nightlife?

Coventry is really on the up - obviously, there’s the City of Culture but other things have cast a spotlight on the city in the last couple of years. I was born in Coventry and moved away for a while, but when I moved back I saw a massive difference.

Even over the past two or three years, the amount of change means Coventry is looking like a new city. I think it's going to keep going that way for quite a while so if we have the chance to help push that progress and speed up the reemergence of Coventry night-life that’s what we want.

We want to help make the city’s nightlife vibrant and offer great drinks experiences, whether that’s a cocktail bar, a sports bar, a brewery tour or a fan zone. We want to bring people back into Coventry and make a really, really fun night in Coventry and a vibrant place to be. So people realise that rather than going to Birmingham, London or Manchester they can have a great night in Coventry too.

How would you describe Coventry’s nightlife?

Coventry nightlife has changed so much. Depending on what mood someone is in, there are great things to do in Coventry and quirky things to do in Coventry. I’d definitely recommend visiting FarGo Village and then someone can come into Coventry city centre and visit tourist destinations then swing around to some really cool bars like our Spire Bar as well as places like the Telegraph Hotel, The Botanist, Turtle Bay and more.

You can start your night with some food and drinks and then carry that on to places where you might be able to go for a dance in Coventry such as The Yard and Samoan Joe’s.

The Spire Bar is a pretty unique venue in Coventry. What was your vision for it?

When the building came up we really wanted it - we have a lot of personality and passion and such an iconic building fit that personality well. The area has seen a lot of changes, so we wanted to offer a modern and different experience that would tie in with that and help people make lots of memories in Coventry.

It’s a small building so we had to really use our expertise to make the most of it, including putting in draught long lines and an extensive cocktail menu. The huts that we put in to make the most of the area during the Covid pandemic and make use of the outside space in Coventry have turned into a permanent addition to the city that people love as part of Coventry’s nightlife and somewhere where you have great beer and great cocktails in Coventry.

What would you say is Dhillon’s Brewery’s signature drink?

Our Dhillon’s Brewery Ghost Town lager. I think that pretty much hits the nail on the head with what we're going for, who we are, and what we want to do for the city. It’s a flagship beer for Coventry that encapsulates Coventry’s rich music heritage and history, all within a great craft lager. It’s about diversity, inclusion, rebelliousness - it’s exactly what Two-Tone was all about and what it brought to Coventry. We want to keep that legacy going in the form of nightlife and with great beer and Ghost Town Lager reflects that.

To find out more about the great food and drink on offer in Coventry & Warwickshire, visit  Ellen’s blog

Published: 18th January 2022