Good Beer Hunting
About This Show
GBH is not a voice speaking only from the outside looking in, but rather, from the middle of some of the most rapidly changing dynamics that any U.S. industry has ever seen. The interviews go deeper and the articles work harder to balance the culture of craft beer with the businesses it supports, shifting the conversation with our readers toward the future of the industry we love and the tenacity of its ideals.
Most Recent Episode
EP-173 Jez Galaun and Xochitl Benjamin of Brixton Brewery
1 day ago
On today’s episode I’m joined by Jez Galaun and Xochitl Benjamin, two of
the four founders behind South London’s Brixton Brewery. Six months
previously, I had sat down for a brief chat with the same pair, before GBH
broke the news that the brewery had sold a minority stake of 49% to
Heineken. Now that the dust kicked up by that announcement has had the
chance to settle I wanted to catch up with Galaun and Benjamin to find out
how things had been going for the brewery post investment.
Brixton was the latest in a string of acquisitions and investments that
demonstrated an increasing trend in the interest in the London beer market
from some of the industry’s biggest players. We saw SABMiller purchase
Meantime Brewery back in May 2015, before it was subsequently sold on to
Asahi following SAB’s merger with Anheuser Busch-InBev, a year later. In
December 2015 AB-InBev’s ZX Ventures investment arm acquired Camden Town
Brewery, before also investing in its purpose built £30 million brewing
facility in Enfield, North London.
Denmark’s Carlsberg also entered the fray in July 2017, when it purchased
the struggling London Fields Brewery, in partnership with Brooklyn
Brewery—the latter adding London Fields to its growing empire of
international brewpubs. Heineken’s investment in Brixton a few months later
only further served to demonstrate that London’s breweries are hot
This investment means that like Camden, Brixton will be able to expand into
a larger facility, although on nowhere near the same scale. At its existing
facility under the arches near Brixton Station—which the brewery has called
home since it was founded in 2013—it was producing almost 3000hl (around
2500 US bbls) per year. When commissioned later this year, the new facility
will allow Brixton to produce ten times this amount annually. But this will
still keep them under the volumes of several other London breweries,
including smaller independents like Beavertown and Fourpure.
The new site will also be located in the heart of Brixton itself, just 600
meters from the existing location as the crow flies. Galaun, Benjamin and I
unpack the importance of this during the course of our conversation. We
also discuss how the London scene is still undergoing dramatic change and
whether or not that Heineken stake is evidence of an eventual path to
control, as it was when they acquired Lagunitas.