THE PERFECT BEER
The perfect beer partner for Cocktails In The City
We have known James and Felix for many years and have been delighted to see their innovative lower alcohol Small Beer range explode into the UK drinks market over the last few years.
It occurred to us both that Small Beer is the perfect accompaniment to an evening of cocktails, all the flavour and palette freshening that comes with a great beer without stopping you from enjoying that final stirred or shaken drink crafted by the bartender at the end of the evening.
We are very happy to announce Small Beer is the exclusive beer partner for Cocktails In The City this summer.
Yourself and Felix left Sipsmith which is an incredibly highly regarded brand and business, what was the impetus to go your own way?
Felix and I are incredibly proud of what we helped build at Sipsmith, but seeking out our Small Beer adventure came from the basic fact that we as consumers couldn't find what we were looking for in the market. As young professionals with families we simply couldn't find something that facilitated those much enjoyed moments out and about that didn't leave us feeling worse for wear the following day.
Felix's background in brewing (at Budweiser and Fuller's) meant that we started to talk in 'what ifs'... What if there was a beer on draught that meant we could have all of the enjoyment of that perfect pint without any of the slowdown? What if there was a beer that didn't taste like it had had all the fun taken out of it?
And that's how Small Beer was born...
Since starting this journey how has the market changed in low alcohol beers?
The market has come on leaps and bounds since our early days, with Small Beer very much at the forefront of educating the industry and consumers on the category.
Pioneering a new way of thinking when it comes to 'what beer can be' is something that we're immensely proud of. We're the world's first brewery dedicated to the sole production of lower alcohol beer, which is really having its moment. As is often the way, non-alcoholic alternatives have been an easier concept for consumers to understand, but momentum is building. What we're starting to see more and more of in recent years is the demand to moderate rather than abstain completely and that's where Small Beer is so well poised to deliver time and time again.
Small Beer Company will be serving up the following selection at Cocktails In The City this summer:
- Small Beer Lager
- Small Beer Session Pale
- Small Beer Steam
- Small Beer Dark Lager
- Small Beer Organic IPA
In simple terms what are the biggest challenges to overcome when making a full-bodied lower alcohol beer?
Taste. At Small Beer, we're a brewery that makes delicious beer first and lower alcohol beer second. What we mean by that is flavour, body and mouthfeel is our primary focus. We don't water down stronger brews, nor do we tamper with them through common practices like vacuum distillation. Instead, we've worked hard to develop our beers using twice the typical amount of ingredients, which are the very finest on the market. We brew up to strength on our custom brewing kit, designed specifically to brew below 2.8% ABV and we take our sweet, small time, leaving our beer in vessel for a minimum of 6 weeks vs. the industry standard 4-6 days. All of these steps are to ensure that the taste of our Small Beer is never lacking and our loyal drinkers are never left wanting.
What do you think the secret to your success has been?
The common theme running through all of our conversations with customers is that they like the way we do things and not just what it is that we're doing. Yes, we're a lower alcohol beer brand, but we're also extremely passionate about sustainability and taking our time to take a step back and see the bigger picture of how things can be done. I think it's this thoughtful approach to business that really shines through and it's something that we're extremely mindful of protecting as we grow.
Tell us about the brewery and its many uses?
How long have you got?! Our brewery is truly a very special place, not just for our team who are lucky enough to work in the next room from our custom brewing kit, but also for our local community and many guests who visit our home. When we designed our custom brewing kit we were determined to reduce the amount of water needed to brew our Small Beer. As a result, we've managed to drastically cut the water needed from the typical 10 pints of water to just 1 1/2 pints of water to brew just 1 pint of Small Beer. This has meant that we are the first brewery that we know of to operate a dry floor policy, which is what allows us to host events in the shadows of our fermentation vessels. We host brewery tours, regular live music nights (partnering with the wonderful team at Sofar Sounds), comedy nights, yoga classes, company away days, weddings and many more! It really is the gem of South Bermondsey.