My appreciation for good ale started in early teens. Not from drinking it but just observing it.
I grew up in Wigan as part of a large family that included several publicans and brewers, not to mention many enthusiastic pub goers. I remember very clearly the sense of exuberance and joy that seemed to radiate from men with tankards of ale. It was as if they were somehow happier, more content than anyone else in the pub. Like they knew something that other people didn’t. Of course this is not entirely true but I think what Hunter. S. Thompson said holds sway. “Good people drink good beer.”
Being a brewer always seemed like an obvious career option to me. But how to get there? Work experience? Mimicking other brewers? Home brewing? When the opportunity of starting a one barrel plant in the platform tavern came about I decided that teaching myself through trial and error, and lots of reading was the most organic and honest way to begin. Issues and problems would be my cross to bare, and any successes would be of my own making. Of course as I grew and met other brewers, ideas, information, techniques and experiences flowed like wine and I have not yet met a brewer that doesn’t like to talk!
Being an Englishman I am very lucky to be in the very heart of brewing history and therefore have huge respect and reverence for tradition. Time honoured methods and good produce really are what British beer are built on. Being part of that timeline makes me very proud! If it wasn’t for the innovation and experimentation of Brewers of old none of this would mean a thing. I feel it is the duty of modern Brewers to not only continue to use these age old techniques but to try where ever possible to improve or adapt them to achieve new results or to suit the modern pallet.
When it came to the brewery at the Wool House site I saw it as an opportunity to make sure I had all of the tools to allow me to create many different styles of beer without being hindered by the capabilities of my equipment. Working with elite stainless fabrications in Swindon was the only option for me, as I knew that they would design and build a brewery tailored exactly to my needs. Their personal touch and communication continues to be of the highest order!
As a brewery, our goal going forward is to keep striving to make better, more flavourful beers of as wide a range of styles as possible bound only by our creative nature.