On the up: the Propel Newsletter reports that, in the three months April to June, the number of breweries in the UK increased. It was only by two but that is better than seemed likely a while back. The source of the information was the Society of Independent Breweries’ (SIBA) Brewery Tracker listing. It may be that this data refers only to breweries which are members of SIBA. Andy Slee, SIBA’s chief executive, was understandably cautious, “There has been a significant number of brewery closures and change of ownership, with some consolidation and buyouts alongside new businesses opening. So, while modest growth is ahead of expectations and common perception, it’s not quite the overly positive picture that the headline figures paint.” The South East, which presumably includes London, saw the arrival of three new breweries.
Brick Brewery: further to the report in the last edition that Brew By Numbers and Brick Brewery were to appoint administrators, the assets of Brick Brewery have been acquired by a private equity group called the Breal Group. This is the company that recently bought the Black Sheep brewery out of administration. Breal have set up a new company called ‘Brick B’ but they will continue to trade as Brick Brewery. Breal said that it had, “secured the business for the long-term, and this has saved the jobs and futures of the people that work there and ensured that the unique flavours of Brick brewery beers are not lost or forgotten”. Ian and Sally Stewart, Brick’s founders, will remain with the company to ensure the continuation of its community spirit and are looking forward to the brewery’s tenth anniversary later this year.
Brew By Numbers: there were reports that the Breal Group would also be taking over BBNo but this appears not to have happened. The most recent report, in the Morning Advertiser (16 June), was that administrators had been appointed and that they intended to keep the business running while they looked for a buyer. It is encouraging that they see it as a going concern. Their tap room on the Bermondsey Beer Mile closed in May.
London Fields: just after we went to print with the last edition, Carlsberg Marstons Brewing Company announced that they had sold London Fields brewery to the Grace Land Group. The price was not disclosed. Grace Land, founded in 2009, are pub operators with a number of pubs in north London, such as the Black Heart in Camden Town, the Earl of Essex in Islington and the Axe in Stoke Newington. It is understood that they plan to relaunch the brewery under the name Saint Monday and will brew at the site. There is also a suggestion that they will reopen the tap room.
Mash Paddle: I have not reported this relatively new addition to the Bermondsey Mile. Mash Paddle was established in 2022. The tap room is open to the public and sells its own beers plus guests. The brewery also offers training courses in brewing for groups of one to four people. The course, which takes around four to five hours, produces 20 litres of beer which is canned after two weeks in the fermenting vessel. Further details are available at https://www.mashpaddlebrewery.com/.
Sambrook’s: the tap room had its second birthday at the end of July and this was duly celebrated with a number of guest beers. The annual ‘Beer by the River’ event is scheduled for 4 to 10 September. It will be held in and around the brewery tap and will also feature guest beers as well as a wide variety of Sambrook’s own beers. The New Brew Nights, on the last Thursday of every month, are continuing, with each featuring a new limited edition beer. Sambrook’s are experimenting with making some, if not all, of their beers vegan friendly and are looking to produce a gluten free version of their Session IPA.
Spartan: this is a loss to the Bermondsey Mile, where they had been since 2018. Sadly, they closed on 17 June. It is understood that the premises and plant have been sold to another London independent brewery who need additional capacity. We will confirm the details in due course. The owners have retained the rights to the brand name with a view to possibly returning in due course.
Three Hills: this taproom/brewery was next door to Spartan. Earlier this year the brewing equipment was moved from the Bermondsey site to consolidate production at their main site in Thrapston, Northamptonshire. The Outpost, as the Bermondsey site is known, continues as a bar. There is also a tap room at the Thrapston site.