At a time when many in the brewing business are considering large, with excessive alcohol percentages, flashy flavours and ostentatious packaging, Bermondsey brewery Small Beer Brew Co. are considering, properly, small.
What units the beers on the Small Beer Brew Co. other than the remaining is their low-key method to brewing, specializing in sustainability, decrease alcohol content material and the enjoyment of excellent beer whereas by no means compromising on high quality and flavour.
When James Grundy and Felix James began the brewery three and a half years in the past, they knew they needed to supply one thing completely different.
Embodying the Small Beer sentiment of ‘Think Big, Drink Small’ the duo mixed their many years of expertise in the drinks business to create the world’s solely devoted small beer brewery, in the guts of South London.
(Image: Small Beer)
Lower alcohol beer
Small Beer is the world’s solely small beer brewery: it solely produces beers which might be under 2.8 per cent ABV.
Speaking to MyLondon, James defined that they needed to discover a center floor between ingesting and never ingesting, the place you might get pleasure from a few pints of scrumptious beer and never really feel the implications the subsequent day.
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James stated: “We watched the alcohol percentages go up and up and up, particularly throughout the American craft beer motion which took 5 per cent to six, seven, eight per cent and onwards. The flavour profiles had been nice, and the hangovers had been equally spectacular.
“But what do you drink when you need to have a actually good beer when you’re having lunch, you’re having drinks after work – however you know you’ve nonetheless bought a bit extra work to do, or you’re going house to the household, or you’re up early the subsequent day?
“Sure, there have been non-alcoholic beers, however we did not discover that they had been hitting the flavour profile we had been searching for.
“We drink beer as a result of we love nice beer, however completely do not all the time need it to flooring us. We do not all the time need to get up struggling the bleary-eyed penalties.”
And out of that curiosity and wish for one thing completely different, Small Beer was born.
(Image: Small Beer Brew Co.)
Small beer as a idea is nothing new. It’s the beer that folks would famously drink as a substitute of water from the Middle Ages to across the 1800s, because it was cleaner and extra nutritious.
The higher restrict of alcohol content material was all the time 2.8 per cent, as a result of that is the purpose at which the drink stops being hydrating and begins dehydrating the physique.
James stated: “This was an incredible class of beer that had been utterly misplaced, as a result of at the moment it was drunk by everybody – in the office, in the house, in excessive society.
“Felix and I simply needed to know if this was one thing that could possibly be revived. Could we brew actually world-class beer however at a genuinely social, sessionable ABV?”
They had been well-equipped for the problem: James and Felix each have wealthy backgrounds in the drinks business.
James labored at Sipsmith Gin for eight years and in wine earlier than that, whereas Felix was one of many lead brewers at Fuller’s and beforehand labored with AB InBev.
Small Beer’s first merchandise debuted on the Savoy Hotel in 2017, and now they’re accessible in a number of pubs, on the Bermondsey faucet room, in supermarkets and in their on-line retailer.
The pandemic has led to an elevated curiosity in Small Beer, as folks strive to keep a work-life steadiness with a good beer on the finish of a work-from-home day with out the adverse penalties.
Despite the truth that, when the pandemic hit, 55 per cent of Small Beer’s commerce was coming by means of bars and eating places, their nice retail companions and on-line retailer meant they had been in a position to construct the enterprise by means of different channels.
Another factor that units Small Beer Brew Co. other than different breweries is its emphasis on sustainability.
James stated that brewing beer is historically very useful resource intensive, notably with water, and he needed Small Beer to buck that pattern.
Small Beer was licensed as London’s first b-corp brewery in 2019, that means they recognise social and environmental accountability and steadiness goal and revenue.
James stated: “When we set out from each of our backgrounds in the drinks business, we had an appreciation for simply how useful resource intensive it’s.
“We needed accountable manufacturing to be a core thread that runs by means of the enterprise from the get-go.
(Image: Small Beer Brew Co.)
“One of our main focuses is water. In brewing, the business commonplace for water utilization is eight to ten pints per single pint of beer brewed.
“If you go to a brewery you’ll usually see that the brewer’s get-up is wellies, hose in one hand, squeegee in the opposite – and a whole lot of gallons of water simply will get pumped onto the ground day by day in the identify of cleansing.
“We truly run the nation’s solely dry flooring brewery. There’s not a single drain in the ground, you will not see a hose, nor a squeegee – the gear we use, which is certainly one of Felix’s superb designs, is designed to recapture, recirculate and recycle the water that we do use.
“So as a substitute of utilizing eight to ten pints of water per pint of beer, we have truly bought it down to one and a half pints of water per pint of beer brewed.
“We did not want to simply do it the way it’s all the time been finished – that quantity of water would not want to be pumped onto brewery flooring day by day, nevertheless it’s simply that nobody’s questioned it.”
Sustainable packaging can also be a precedence for Small Beer. They use recycled and recyclable packaging for every thing from the bottles to labels to enterprise playing cards, and even the bottle form itself is designed with sustainability in thoughts.
Small Beer makes use of stubby bottles relatively than long-neck bottles, which isn’t solely nostalgic and a nod to historic small beer containers, but additionally implies that extra beer might be transported in a single lorry or container.
620 litres of beer might be transported per pallet with the stubby bottles, in contrast to 470 litres with a lengthy neck bottle.
Like most companies in the food and drinks business, Small Beer is wanting ahead to lockdown easing enabling them to open up their faucet room and occasion area as soon as extra.
Just off the Bermondsey Beer Mile, the brewery faucet room hosts occasions from jazz and blues music nights to inspiring talks from changemakers in the drinks business.
James says that he hopes the dwell music occasions will resume in June, and that the faucet room will open a little sooner.
In the meantime, Small Beer is accessible at Waitrose, Whole Foods, Majestic Wine and Ocado, in addition to on the web site theoriginalsmallbeer.com.
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