We spend a moment with Dominic of Bedlam Brewery to talk history, values and the future of Bedlam. As always, we hope you enjoy the interview.
If there are any comments or questions you would like asked to future brewers, please let us know in the comments section below. Anyway on with the interview…
So, can you tell us how it all started for you?
I have owned a collection of pubs in and around Brighton over the last 15 years, but it wasn’t until I visited Craft Beer Rising in 2013 that I had that “epiphany” moment. I came away from there feeling that I had to get home and start a brewery in the morning.
Bedlam was subsequently launched at Craft Beer Rising in 2015 and it has been an incredible 3 years in between.
How many are in your team currently?
There are five of us that are on the front line, with a couple of other grown-ups who we can lean on for advice and guidance.
Were there any mishaps / funny moments along the way leading to now?
None that I am allowed to share and still keep the brew team on my side !!
What are the values of your brewery?
The ecological credentials are vital in how we go about the brewing process. We have built the brewery to be fully powered by the solar energy we have installed, we recycle our spent grains for free to a local beef farmer (who uses it as feed) and we grown some of our hops right outside the Brewhouse.
I wouldn’t call it ground-breaking, but it makes sense and feels like the right thing to do when you are brewing in such an amazing environment.
What made you decide on your bottle / label style and theme?
We were desperate to find a solution to having the bottles directly screen printed, and with the help of some fantastic guys in Yorkshire we were able to achieve the finish we were after.
As for the design and branding, again we were fortuitous to have the help of some friends who simply listened to our ideas for the business and could translate that beautifully into a concept. The point was that we weren’t reinventing the wheel here and behind the rhetoric of other breweries….neither are they. So we seemed to sum it up with “Modern Brews, Centuries of Tradition”. It captured the spirit of embracing the good work before us, whilst stamping our own mark with Bedlam brews.
With that in mind what is your signature brew and what makes it stand out?
I’m not sure we have a “signature” brew, which may sound strange, but we are not actively promoting one brew. I think in time that will be dictated by the drinkers, not us. We currently produce five brews with two more to be launched in the summer of 2016 and I we put as much love and effort into all of them.
What do you love about brewing and the industry in general?
So many things, the excitement around brewing is incredible and infectious, but it’s the people in the industry that have offered me advice, time and shared their experiences that really lifts you. There is an openness in brewing that I haven’t encountered in other industries
Are you attending any festivals in the coming months?
For sure, between us we cover quite a few, if’s there good beer, music and some great street food, chances are someone from Bedlam will be overcooking somewhere.
What are your plans for the future and where do you think the industry is headed?
We have a major expansion planned for early 2017, including a new state of art Brewhouse being built. We are also launching our tour program and online store this summer.
For the first time we have seen our beer being shipped off to other parts of the world and we hope to see that continue, with some hope that we can take it the USA in the next 12 months.
As for the industry, I think we are likely to see movement at both ends of the scale with new breweries continuing to be launched. This will undoubtable lead to some further consolidation and acquisitions by the likes of AB Inbev, Molson Coors and others as they look to collect brands and secure their position within the market that is killing them right now.
Either way it leads to growth, opportunities and continued exciting times in an amazing industry
Finally, what is the best way for our readers to pick up a bottle or two?
Check out our “Stockists” listing on the website www.bedlambrewery.co.uk and get out there and support that amazing local bar in your neighbourhood. Those guys are changing the industry and helping create new heroes in the not only the brewing world, but with fantastic distillers and wine makers. It’s a great time to explore something new.
A little more about Bedlam Brewery from the team themselves:
It’s a simple straightforward approach. We aim to brew the best beer that we can, using only the finest natural ingredients.
Bedlam currently offers 4-5 different cask beers available in either on draft or by the bottle.
Bedlam is based on our farm near Brighton, and we feel passionately about our environment. All of the energy required for brewing comes from solar panels, we’ve planted and harvest our own hops, and we even supply local farmers with all of our spent grain and hops for FREE, which they then use as feed for their cattle.