It isn’t just pubs that help their communities. Signature Brew are however aiming to help one specific community which has suffered disproportionately during the pandemic, the music business.
First, some history. Signature Brew was set up in 2011 by two cousins, Sam McGregor and Tom Bott. Sam was/is a musician and tour manager. He became weary of having nothing decent to drink while on tour so he decided to do something about it. If he was going to start a brewery then who better to help him than Cousin Tom, whose father was one of the founders of the renowned Titanic Brewery in Stoke on Trent.
The first brews were made at some nine different breweries and were intended to be stocked by music venues. Many of them were collaborations with a number of different bands. Once the market was established, in 2015, they moved into their own premises in Leyton. By 2019 they had outgrown that site and had moved to Blackhorse Lane in Walthamstow. As well as a bigger brewery, the new premises had space for a taproom. They also now have a second taproom in Acton Mews, Haggerston (E8 4EA). Along with their standard range, the collaboration brews continue. Their achievements have been recognised by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) with their Brewery Business of the Year award for this year, as mentioned on page 19. Being sustainable is a priority for Signature Brew. For example, they sell their beer in cans rather than bottles because cans are easier to recycle and the brewing operation uses a steam boiler.
Signature Brew are a London Living Wage employer and have a strong commitment to charities which help the NHS and the hospitality sector. Like many breweries, they increased their off sales operation (including their Pub in a Box) during the various periods of closure and employed musicians whose work had dried up as delivery staff.
As has been mentioned in these pages before, the pandemic has had a drastic effect on independent music venues. Some 550 of them are in danger of permanent closure, taking with them the jobs of thousands of dedicated staff, as well as denying up and coming bands vital spaces to perform in. To help them, Signature Brew have allocated a supply of their Studio lager worth £250,000 for donation to these venues so that they can sell it to generate cash income. They are calling it a Beer Grant. The offer also includes musicians going on tour in the coming year, so that they can take a supply of the beer on the road with them. If any venues or bands wish to apply, they should go to www.signaturebrew.co.uk/beergrants and fill out a short application form.
Co-founder Sam McGregor explains, “We’re passionate about live music and we’re going to help independent venues and musicians however we can. The idea for the Beer Grant scheme came from wanting to offer the thing we do best as a way to make life easier for venues and touring bands after an unprecedentedly difficult year. We want to help as many venues as possible and we believe the Signature Brew Beer Grant will contribute to safeguarding the future of the UK’s music scene.”
Signature Brew will celebrate their 10th birthday in August and the celebrations that they are planning will include a ten-day festival of events including live shows, exclusive beers and band collaborations. We wish them a very happy birthday. �ld