SPOTLIGHT ON: BREW BY NUMBERS
Five months ago, the BrewDog development fund landed in the pockets of two up-and-coming breweries – one of these was Brew By Numbers. Their brewery lies in the heart of Bermondsey, and a small London brewing hub known as the “Bermondsey beer mile”. With seven breweries sharing six brewery taps, it seems any railway arch is fair game to house the next start-up.
Brew by Numbers started with two guys brewing at home, catching a break getting some kit and pushing the boundaries of brewing beer (sound familiar?). With an influence of American IPA’s packed with new world hops and a love of Belgian styles, their own beers beautifully married the two. BrewDog caught up with one of half of BBNo, Tom Hutchings, to see what’s brewing in Bermondsey.
“The investment was a huge help. BrewDog have given us a lot of support financially - around a third of our total fund - and it really helped us grow our business when we moved into our arch. They have also been great helping us source ingredients. As a small brewery, some hops can be really hard to get hold of and BrewDog have helped us to secure lots to continue brewing with!”
“We’ve had our beers analysed at the BrewDog lab which is a great help. With a new kit, you have no idea how your beer actually is from how it theoretically is. We can take our beer and work backwards, measuring alcohol content, bitterness and gravity, and this is helping us learn and progress. If ever we have any problems we can just call up, as Martin and James have been through exactly what we went through (except it was probably colder and wetter up there!).”
“We hope to get our pilot kit up and running again within the next month or so. It's great for our staff to play with recipes, trying out different flavours and styles. It’s important to keep trying to come up with new and exciting things.”
The development fund was created to encourage and develop the potential of small breweries. Every brewery faces obstacles, and providing support for each other helps everyone progress.
“One of the greatest challenges we’ve faced was building our brewery, it’s adapted from tanks and vessels used previously for food and drink manufacturing, that we selected from a company in Sheffield. Although we had a fabricator to carry out the work, we designed the brewery ourselves [from these vessels]. It contains features that are unique to us - it’s definitely original! It’d be really interesting to try brewing a Punk IPA on our steampunk brewhouse - the exact same recipe can come out with some really interesting things on different kits. It’d be cool to try that out here.”
With over fifty registered craft breweries in London, it’s a thriving place for a young business, and BBNo have already collaborated with their neighbours; recently brewing a gin saison with the help of Jensen Gin Distillery in Bermondsey, and a saison with quince refined by England Preserves.
“We all help each other out and share a lot. We’ve got loads of breweries and small food and drink companies around. We weren’t originally looking for a place here, but Evin from The Kernel, [to whom Tom jokingly refers as ‘the Godfather of Bermondsey’] invited us here, and that was that!”
“Our plan for next year is to keep focusing on the essentials - trying new things, constantly challenging ourselves, expanding our team and making a fun environment to work in. We’d hope to one day create a PLC like BrewDog have now, as they have been really successful with it. We’ve got a few trips planned to Europe and the States, looking around at breweries and noting down what we like about them, creating plans for our ideal brewery and how we can achieve that. Hopefully our next brewery will be just as unique, just not so handmade by us!”
We’ve showcased 24 different Brew By Numbers beers across our UK bars - the Session IPA being particularly popular. Tom shares his thoughts as to why - “everyone loves drinking as much hop juice as they can without falling over!”
Are you a BBNo fan? What’s been your favourite number?