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HOW IT CAME TO BE - by Soravij Bhirombhakdi

Since 2001, when beer production was moved out to the newer breweries in Patumthani and Khon Kaen, the building that was known as Brewhouse No. 2 was closed down. Slowly, it began to be pretty much left alone, and the spaces on the ground floor were used to "temporary" store discarded junks from different buildings around the Samsen sight. The junks gradually piled up, while the copper vats hall was only cleaned when it was needed as a backdrop for photo sessions accompanying the different interviews. Otherwise the whole building was left alone, apart from the squatters, all of whom were old company employees.

I walked through the site many times, as there was an old dark, dirty and damp passage way on the ground floor connecting the old part with the new, a path that many would walk daily. One day around 2008 I decided to have a good look around. Many of the old copper control wheels were missing, and there were leakages everywhere. It was a sad sight, especially when I can remember how it was as a young man running around the brewery with my father. There were smiling people and activities, as well as that wonderful smell of hops and malts, which can be quite horrible to those who are not used to it, I guess, as I was told many times. The place was full of energy, and now it was just laying there delapidating. I found it quite soothing though when I needed some quite times to think. So, from time to time, I would just come and walk around. I noticed that more and more copper wheels went missing over time, so I had the place locked up to prevent further thefts. I also thought that one day I would love to rejuvanate this historically important site.
Singha Museum Entrance Singha Museum Reception Theatre at Singha Museum
Entrance Area Reception Theatre Area
In 2012, I left Boon Rawd Trading International, the brewery's main export company, to start a new venture - publications. The international section was growing steadily, and its future is better in the hands of professionals, or so the management thought, but that's another story. I wished to concentrate on publications - for one thing, our group was growing quite steadily with more and more people entering the Singha Family. Many, as it turned out, were left in the dark as to what was going on in the company, me included. In addition, we were making new products under new brands constantly, and many of us could not keep up with what products were ours and which products were our competitors. So, I revamped the Singha Magazine, our internal communicator that was under the care of my young cousin, Piti, who was growing his own portfolio of work in a different direction, that of food and logistics. After the fine tuning of the new Singha Magazine, I then went to work on The Singha Story, the first book to fully chronicle the history of our company as well as of our family, which was on its tenth year in the making by a group that did not have the full knowledge, nor their hearts in the right places. The Singha Story was rewritten and repackaged into a large coffee-table-book style and was finally launched in 2015.
Singha Museum Zone 1 Singha Museum Zone 2 Singha Museum Zone 3
Zone 1

Zone 2

Zone 3

While doing The Singha Story, I though of renovating the Brewhouse No. 2, and wanted to add display cases to compliment the stories told in the book. The idea was for someone who has read the book, and wanted to see the real thing, they could come here, and vice versa; that if someone had walked through this area and having seen the displays, they would understand the book better. So, that was how it started. I knew that we had an idea to do a museum some years back, but it was turned down because of the huge budget involved. I presented the idea to our then CEO, my uncle Santi Bhirombhakdi, and instead of asking for a one time budget for the project, I decided to ask for a small amount per year, so that I can slowly fix the place up, with the intention of launching the first phase of the museum project within 1 year, but it would be an on-going project for at least ten more years. He was happy with the idea and more so the budget, and so the project got the go-ahead in 2015.

Singha Museum Zone 4 Singha Museum Zone 5 Singha Museum River front
Zone 4 Zone 5 River front
The Singha Museum had a soft launch in November 2016. Many of the management came to celebrate with me, and many donated materials for displays in the museum. It was such a lovely gesture, very much appreciated. So, we started a new fresh chapter for Brewhouse No. 2, now officially known as the Singha Museum. After the event, which brought back a lot of positive energy again, the area became quiet yet again. As we are a private museum, with no intentions of opening to the general public yet, there were not many occasions to open up the museum at all. So, we played with the idea of turning it into a space for the company's employees to come and relax after work. As it turned out, it was a great idea. We opened only on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4.30pm to 8pm. Many came to meet their work-mates, did some meetings after work hours, or brought guests after their meetings. It became a new meeting place for the Singha Family, and the energy of the place is back. Someone told me that even the spirits are happy. In addition, the Theatre is also used for presentations as well as giving talks in an informal setting, which is something quite new for us at the brewery. But, as I keep saying, we are an ongoing project, so we can never keep still.
donations A talk at the Singha Museum
Soft Opening - 1 Dec 2016 A talk in the Museum Theatre
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