27 minutes | Mar 24, 2023
#97 Brian Dickson | Northern Monk
10 years is a pretty significant chunk of time, in any walk of life. So you can’t blame Brian Dickson, who helped start one of the UK’s most popular modern breweries, of being proud of how far Northern Monk has come in that first decade. And if you work in and around the craft beer industry, you probably know Brian. There’s a strong chance you’ve probably brewed with him, too. Such is his appetite for working with others. A meeting at a beer festival with fellow co-founder Russell Bisset would set the duo on a path to grow a business that produces countless beers, has won a wealth of awards and exports to numerous countries. The brewery also employs a team of nearly 100, too. And with their popular Hop City festival on the horizon this May, we recently visited Brian at the Northern Monk Refectory in Holbeck, Leeds, to discuss their achievements in that first decade, the importance of working with the community, and the brewery’s collective desire to give people the best beer experiences they possibly can.
30 minutes | Mar 10, 2023
#96 Miranda Hudson | Duration Brewing
Miranda Hudson is the co-founder of Duration Brewing, a progressive farmhouse brewery that makes beers that belong in Norfolk. Starting out as a nomadic brewery in 2017, the business she founded with husband Bates, has become one of the most respected breweries in the UK. Based in a beautifully renovated Norfolk barn, they continue to expand and a successful Crowdfunder was one of their biggest successes in 2022, with more than 600 supporters, which is really enabling them to truly push on the future of their brewery will set a tap room and much more besides.Last month, Miranda joined us at Springwell, the home of North Brewing, to deliver an honest and open talk on the story of Duration so far.But also, she shared some sincere insights on her own personal journey, and how she has navigated certain hurdles along the way. Duration Glossy Brochure _compressed copyDownload Photo: Nicci Peet
31 minutes | Feb 24, 2023
#95 Colin Stronge | Salt Beer Factory
The winner of our 2022 Brewers Choice - Brewer of the Year has been a pillar of the UK beer scene, has invented beer styles, lighting the way for new breweries, dishing out advice, support and encouragement to new and existing brewers as well as being an excellent all-around brewer. Colin has long since written his name into the story of modern UK brewing. To mark his keynote address at our Brewers Lectures in Leeds yesterday (23rd February), it’s the perfect time to revisit our conversation with Colin from 2021. In this podcast, we discuss how the Shipley-based Salt was overcoming the challenges of COVID, and why working with supermarkets must be seen as a viable way for breweries to sustain their business. We consider what more can be done for breweries to improve their QC processes, find out more about the Salt’s Hexagon Project family of beers and also look back of some of the seminal beers Colin has brewed, such as Yellow Belly and Deep Rainbow Valley.
18 minutes | Feb 10, 2023
#94 Vault City – Let’s make sour beers accessible for all
At some point, we’ve all had to turn a spare room into a custom and excise warehouse at some point, haven’t we? And in doing so, ending up on a path to starting a brewery that would go on to release some 70 unique beers in 2022. Today’s guest has done just that, and in co-founding Vault City of Portobello in Edinburgh, he’s helped create one of Scotland’s most popular breweries. Co-founded by Steven Smith-Hay back in January 2018, the brewery goes from strength-to-strength and is forecasting triple-digit growth in 2023. In this episode, we speak to Steven about the early days of Vault City, its recent investments in capital equipment and the brewery’s aim to bring more people into the wonderful world of sour beers.
20 minutes | Jan 27, 2023
#93 Introducing Great Beyond Brewing Company
Opening your own brewery, at any point is time, comes with its own challenges and hurdles to overcome. Just ask the countless outfits that had COVID to contend with, weeks and months after, slinging open their doors.And in the current economic climate, things probably aren’t much easier, to say the least.But people are thirsty, and there remains an insatiable appetite for excellent, locally-made produce.Which is convenient because that’s exactly what John, Ollie and Nick, the co-founders of Great Beyond Brewing Company, specialise in.I recently caught up with John Driebergen. In this episode, the co-founder of one of London’s newest outfits discusses his love of brewing and his desire for Great Beyond Brewing Company to become part of the fabric of East London.We also discussed the team’s experiences working in the industry and the lessons they’ve learned along the way. Photo: Great Beyond Brewing Company
27 minutes | Jan 13, 2023
#92 Mash Gang | Pushing the envelope
Gone are the days where choosing a beer without the alcohol meant forgoing genuine choice in the process.Countless macro businesses now offer 0.5% or 0.0% iterations of well-known brands.And with January already halfway behind us, numerous independents have thrown their hats into the ring with a fascinating array of low and no pales, lager, sours and stouts. Beers that complement the burgeoning number of beverages available to consumers that want a great beer, just with less, or none, of the alcohol.For today’s guests, who started their brewing journey back in the first COVID lockdown, no-and-low is their raison d’être.And if ongoing demand is anything to go by, they’re showing that the appetite for quality beers, without the alcohol, is only growing and growing.A successful crowdfunder, brewing 36 beers, exports to the Nordics, Australia, and USA to name but a few along with 700% growth FY21-FY22 - it’s not been a bad few years for the team at Mash Gang. Of course, that’s come with a lot of hard work along the way. But in doing so, they’ve showed that you can produce exciting beers that taste great, look the part and further broaden people’s understanding of what low and no alcohol beers can really be.In this episode, we speak to Jordan Childs, the leader and brewer at Mash Gang about challenging consumer perception of NOLO beverages, its debut supermarket beer launch, working with breweries and businesses of all kinds, and the group’s desire for continuous improvement. Image credit: Mash Gang
28 minutes | Dec 16, 2022
#91 New Beginnings
Earlier this month, the team at Neptune Brewery moved into their new home. It’s a step that will allow them to cater for increased demand and further cement themselves as one of the UK’s finest breweries.But this evolution didn’t happen overnight. And while the brewery started out in 2015, the story of Neptune Brewery goes back some years further.During one their first dates, enjoying pints of mild, a couple while away the evening in one of the UK’s most fashionable cities.But no, we’re not talking about 2022. Instead this is Liverpool in the late 1980s….And although they were both working in hospitality back then, little did Julie and Les O’ Grady know that some 30 years on, they’d be running a different hospitality business of their own.For Julie and they’d meet at Dunny’s Sports & Social Club. They’d get married, and have two children, Les would run a successful aquatics company while Julie had a decorated career in the NHS.But after Les decide to call time on that venture, he’d hang up his fishing net and pick up his mash paddle, with Julie joining full time several years later. Celebrating their seventh birthday earlier this year, Neptune Brewery goes from strength-to-strength. In this episode, initially broadcast earlier in 2022, we discovered how they’ve done it.
18 minutes | Dec 2, 2022
#90 Re-imagining beer
UK sales of low-alcohol and no-alcohol beers have almost doubled in the last five years. Alternative versions of global brands, while a raft of launches from independent businesses, have helped give drinkers an increasing number of options when it comes to the beer they drink. If we look back at research from earlier this year, research group IWSR revealed that UK drinkers bought some $454m of alcohol-free and low-alcohol brews in 2021, $200m more than they did back in 2016. And during that period, the curious and determined duo of Bill Shufelt and John Walker brewed more than 100 test batches of non-alcoholic beer on a small home brewing system in order to perfect their proprietary process. In doing so, they went on to start the US-based Athletic Brewing. Since starting out, they’ve gone from being one of the smallest breweries in America to a top-20 craft beer producer. In this episode, co-founder Bill Shufelt talks us through the brewery’s journey, its expansion into the UK market and why losing the alcohol from your beer, shouldn’t mean you lose the variety.
13 minutes | Nov 18, 2022
#89 Involve Everyone
With the 2022 iteration of The Brewers Congress almost among us, it was only right we revisitedthe closing remarks from last year’s event, delivered by Garrett Oliver, the brewmaster at BrooklynBrewery.At the end of the 2021 Brewers Congress, we learned that in beer, and the wider world, whatpeople love is for you to have the respect to show them what you love. And in doing so, they havean opportunity to walk through a little door and potentially find something they really enjoy. But ifyou don’t give people the chance, then they can’t respect you.Garrett Oliver, as well all know, has hosted countless tastings. And he has seen that people cansurprise you. With their knowledge, their taste, with their enthusiasm.In London, he told us that you should never assume that you know more than the person sitting infront of you. That we all should be more inclusive, and to have the courage to put ourselves in frontof people who don’t look like us and maybe haven’t heard about our beer.And also, he said that if you want to have a really good time, get everybody in the room. Not justthe people you know, but everybody because, put simply, everybody loves beer. Photo: Nic Crilly-Hargrave
15 minutes | Nov 3, 2022
#88 Werewolf Beer – We Built a Brewery
We’re all familiar with the saying time flies when you’re having fun. When we last spoke to Rich White back in April last year, he was in the middle of a crowdfunding campaign and brewery fit out. His long-held ambition to start a brewery of his own was becoming a reality. In that episode we spoke about his exciting plans for Werewolf Beer, their crowdfunding campaign, his love of brewing classic American styles and the brewery’s very own…. ghost train!At that point it was very much a case of all hands on deck. And you can probably argue that little has changed since. Except now he has a brewery to call his own. And it’s one making excellent beer that caters for the great and good from London and beyond. Let's see how he's been getting on....
28 minutes | Oct 21, 2022
#87 Diversification through distilling
Diversification in, or this case away, the world of brewing can mean more than producing different styles of beer or packaging said liquid in unusual package types.An increasing number of breweries have, or at least considered, broadened their offering by entering the world of spirits. And for many, that means Gin.And if you suspect big gin has a grip on the UK hospitality trade, you are correct. But this doesn’t mean you can’t get poured as well. Receiving the right data will help you understand your market – and competitors – as this episode will explain. Data collection agency Shepper sends its ‘Sheppards’ out to pound concrete and come back with the real facts regarding products. In this case, they looked at 1,000 pubs, bars and restaurants across the UK to see what gins were being poured. It found that not all towns ‘belong’ to big gin, glasses can make a difference if you want to charge more, and if you’re thinking of entering the tonic water market, you might want to think again. In this episode from our sister publication The Distillers Journal, Toby Darbyshire of Shepper – who has been connected with the spirit industry for years – will explain all.
34 minutes | Oct 7, 2022
#86 Communication is Key
With our 2022 Brewers Congress two months away, we thought it was the perfect time to revisit our 2021 keynote address.Greg Zeschuk knows a thing or two about running a team. During his latest visit to the UK in September just gone, we caught up with him again and discussed that before working in beer, the company he co-founded grew to employ 1500 at seven locations across the globe. Zeschuk was originally trained as a medical doctor, before starting the videogame company BioWare in 1995 in his hometown of Edmonton. BioWare created a number of successful games (Baldur’s Gate, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, Dragon Age, Mass Effect) before being purchased by Electronic Arts (EA) in 2007. While a part of EA BioWare grew to employ over 1500 employees at seven studios across the world. Zeschuk left BioWare in 2012 and after a short hiatus started working in beer. He went on to start The Beer Diaries, a YouTube channel focused on craft beer, and served as the first Executive Director of the Alberta Small Brewers Association in his home province. This led to Zeschuk starting a brewery in his hometown of Edmonton. To achieve his brewery goals Greg built two buildings – the award-winning Ritchie Market and the Monolith. The Ritchie Market is a multi-use building housing a brewery (Blind Enthusiasm Brewing Company), a restaurant (Biera), a butcher, coffee shop, and a bakery. The Monolith was built as a barrel-focused brewery. Out of its Market brewery Blind Enthusiasm focuses on making lagers and runs a barrel-aging program. The Monolith was built to marry scientific method with tradition while making beer largely in wood. At the Monolith Blind Enthusiasm exclusively makes mixed fermentation and spontaneous beer. And having worked in a variety of different professions across the world, Zeschuk says the key to heading up a team is to ensure you coach people rather than simply manage them, something he discusses in this latest episode.“You have to be a manager, a coach and a referee all in one. And there’s probably a little bit of hope involved, too.” “It’s important that the right people are in the right positions,” he explains. “And as your team grows, you need to remember that it helps for people to have frameworks to work within.” Zeschuk adds: “I’ve let people run with roles because I have full confidence in them making it their own. But at times, people are more comfortable with having clear guidance of what’s expected of them. So it’s key to communicate and discover what works best with that individual.” At its peak, Zeschuk was responsible for managing 600 people at EA BioWare and says having a good team around you is imperative. “When you grow, you need management structure that works for you. But there’s no point it being too bloated because that can be disastrous,” he says. “You all need to work well together and, of course, there’s a little bit of hope that everyone pulls in the same direction.” And while working in beer Zeschuk is now used to working with smaller teams, he says that doesn’t mean there are fewer pressures or challenges. “Making video games was one thing and obviously delays happen. But the idea of telling a customer that we can’t deliver their beer that week? he laughs.That’s a whole different problem!”
27 minutes | Sep 23, 2022
#85 Alpha Delta | When persistence is fruitful
From a background in homebrew, Ross Holland would go on to start Box Social Brewing with his dad Steve in 2015.Fast forward several years and Holland is the proprietor of Alpha Delta Brewing, a Newcastle-based brewery making modern beers from hop-forward IPAs to mixed-ferm sours.Not only that but the business was crowned in the top 10 of the New Brewer Awards for the Year 2020 by RateBeer. In this podcast, Holland talks about his background in beer, the hurdles he’s overcome along the way and that if you’re a fan of ace beer and excellent rock and metal, then their Delta Lounge taproom bar in central Newcastle is just the place for you.
30 minutes | Sep 9, 2022
#84 Beavertown – Two Years Young
Earlier this week Beavertown announced it was to be fully acquired by Heineken UK. And earlier this summer, the brewery celebrated its 10th birthday. Much has changed since Logan Plant started the brewery in the De Beauvoir area of Haggerston, London. And two years ago, in September 2020, they threw open the doors of their new brewery in Ponders End, Enfield. The facility, which has created some 150 jobs, has enable the business to produce up to 500,000hl and to brew in 150hl batches, equivalent of 90,000,00 pints per annum, on its Krones brewhouse. The brewery build was a major undertaking at any point in time, it just so happened those involved had a global pandemic to navigate during the project, too. To mark the two years since Beaverworld opened for business, we revisit our interview with founder Logan Plant and then lead brewer Chris Lewington about the brewery’s exciting new capabilities, the hurdles the team have overcome on the way and the changing role Beavertown is playing in the wider beer sector.
18 minutes | Aug 26, 2022
#83 Finding your place
The city of St Albans is one synonymous with great beer. Home to the headquarters of CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, St Albans was also once famed for having the most pubs per square mile than anywhere else in the country. But in recent years, the county of Hertfordshire where St Albans is based has become known not just for a place to drink excellent beer, but it’s home to many breweries producing this fine beverage, too. For four friends Jon Howarth, Josh Kitt, Jordan Manfre and George Sanderson, all shared that appreciation of a good beer. And before long, knew they wanted to play their part in making their own. Launched by those life-long friends who met at school, Lost Boys is the culmination of a group that have juggled full time jobs as policy advisers, policemen and as a CAMRA employee to build a craft brewery that now supplies some of Hertfordshire’s great pubs. With no formal investment or business background, against the backdrop of a locked down hospitality sector and increasing supply chain costs, they’ve gone from brewing in a kitchen to having a small brewing facility in St Albans. In this episode, we speak to Jordan Manfre, the company’s head of marketing, about the brewery’s origins, fitting into the growing Hertfordshire beer scene, meeting customer demands and exciting festivals it will debut at later this year.
16 minutes | Aug 12, 2022
#82 Something in The Water
When there’s some 1,300 breweries across the country, and nearly 300 in your province alone, it pays to be different. So what happens then when three beer lovers from various marketing agency backgrounds come together to open a brewery designed to satiate the curious palette and mind? You get Something In The Water Brewing Co. And since opening its doors in May 2022, the brewery and bar concept is already a hit with the great and the good of Toronto’s Liberty Village.They began their curious beverage journey in March 2020, right at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting with a curiously sour beer with a hint of sweetness, they dedicated themselves to looking at every beverage they curate with that same lens of curiosity.Whether it be the Canadian whisky aged in rum casks, a World Beer Award winning Brunch Stout, or the coffee we source directly from small farms in Costa Rica, they believe curious people deserve curious beverages. And they welcome you to their flagship brewery in Toronto’s Liberty Village to drink curious...
18 minutes | Jul 29, 2022
#81 The Art of Balance – Powderkeg Brewery
We all come into beer from different backgrounds, with different perspectives, with different goals.And when Jess and John Magill returned from several years spent living in Australia back in the early 2000s, they collectively knew that the world of brewing was for them.In doing so, they’d eventually go on to start Powderkeg, a team of freedom-loving beer obsessives carving out their own path with curiosity, creativity and defiance; as they say - this is free-thinking beer.So just what is Free-Thinking Beer?For Devon-based Powderkeg, they say they strive to look beyond the established ideas and opinions to revolutionise a style and create something fresh, interesting but always outstanding.In Cut Loose, they’ve re-imagine a classic German-style Pilsner by pepping it up with New Zealand hops; additions they explain that move past traditional techniques to elevate a beer beyond expectations.And taking influences from craft beer across the globe, they are on a mission to create flavour-packed, easy-drinking session beers that excite craft aficionados and the casual drinker alike.In this episode, we speak to Jess about their small, dedicated team who have spent years honing their skills, giving them the expert brewing knowledge to break the rules with a bit of style, making the beers that really satisfy their curiosity, creativity and thirst.
23 minutes | Jul 15, 2022
#80 Innovation and Invention
Just how do you keep on top of innovation? Do you follow the trends, or help create them? In the world of beer, over time, much has changed and much has stayed the same. And one company that has played an integral role in the development of the brewing industry, as well the distilling sector is Briggs of Burton, the world’s oldest and number one distilling and brewing design and engineering company. With a history dating back to 1732, they know a thing or two about helping brewers and distillers achieve their goals. So with that in mind our colleagues at our sister title, The Distillers Journal, sat down with the company to find our more. Because while spirit consumption around the world continues to grow, customers are demanding more, wanting to feel as good about the distillery as about the spirit they’re drinking. Green credentials and sustainability platforms have grown in importance as much as quality and flavour. However, with the rise in fuel and raw material prices, distillers have to wonder…will they be able to meet their customers demands, while maintaining a healthy bottom line? Joining us for this episode from Briggs is Scott Davies who discusses some of the major issues and challenges facing the industry today and how Briggs of Burton is helping them to overcome them…
23 minutes | Jul 1, 2022
#79 What’s in a sales role?
What’s in a sales role?Sometimes it might be easier to ask what’s not in a sales role….You’re dealing with a wealth of departments internally, a raft of businesses externally and that’s before we’ve got onto other responsibilities such as social media, beer festivals, activations and everything in-between.But the value and importance of such figures can sometimes be overlooked. I think it’s pretty fair to say that when it comes to choice, fans of great beer have rarely had it better.Regardless of the style you’re seeking, the ABV you’re after or the country of origin you’re craving, there are an array of varieties, catering for all tastes.But while there’s an embarrassment of riches for the consumer, there’s also a host of breweries competing for those all-valuable taps and space on fridge shelves.And that’s something that Katie Arabella Ward knows a thing or two about.Katie is the key accounts, internal sales and operations manager at Big Smoke Brew Co.Big Smoke is a modern brewery and pub company, producing flavourful beer in the leafy suburbs of Esher in Surrey. Before her roles within beer at reputable companies including Northern Monk, Mondo, Carlsberg & Little Creatures and renowned wholesaler James Clay, Katie gained life experience spending four years as a freelance make-up artist both in the UK and US.And her passion for growing brands, championing original ideas & helping businesses gain recognition through creative sales & marketing tactics, make her a highly regarded member of the UK brewing industry.So that’s why we asked today’s guest to share her experiences of the industry. Speaking at The Brewers Lectures in Brighton last month, Katie talked on the perception many have of the sales role, her advice to people working in this side of beer sector, and the importance of balancing your professional and personal life.
24 minutes | Jun 1, 2022
#77 “Doing well by doing good” – Christian Barden
When you’ve spent some 25 years in beer industry, working with a raft of innovative companies, you’ve probably picked up a thing or two along the way.And for today’s guest, that time in beer and hospitality is and was always about the people.In today’s episode we hear from Christian Barden, an experienced and enthusiastic global beer industry leader whose mantra is “doing well by doing good”.He’s held executive positions at AB InBev, where he spent 15 years, and a range of drinks and hospitality related PLC’s and SME’s.Most recently, he started Kegstar in Europe, grew and lead it across three continents as global CEO and now holds a number of advisory roles across the industry.And speaking at our Brewers Lectures in Birmingham in May, Christian says that those 25 years in beer and hospitality were as much 25 years of four Ps - purpose, people, planet and profit.