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Arundel Brewery Interview: Tastemakers

With five beers topping Untappd’s regional charts, a popular new tap bar in its arsenal and loads of experimentation on the horizon, the castle brand seems determined to be the king of the flavour castle.

BBB interviews Arundel Brewery Director Stuart Walker to find out how his family team have turned a ‘twiggy’ traditional brand into one of Sussex’s beery tastemakers.

 

 

Introduce yourself, and give us a run-down on the team involved at Arundel Brewery.

I’m Stuart, the Director, and it’s a family affair. My wife Samantha runs The Brewhouse Project, I run the brewery and my son Henry does all the social media and events. We then have the brewing team, a team of eight, and a similar number staffing the brewhouse.

My background is in marketing; I lived the big corporate life but wanted to do something more meaningful and more authentic. I was living down here and got into Arundel Brewery beer. I wanted to be able to live and work in the same place and produce a very high quality product. Arundel fitted that change.

You took over the brewery around seven years ago. What was the state of things then?

It’s been a long journey from back when Arundel was a somewhat old fashioned ‘twiggy’ brewery to where we are now, although we still have a long way to go! Interestingly, when we took over the brewery our Untappd score was 3.3. Now we are at 3.62, which doesn’t sound a lot, but we have one of the fastest-growing Untappd scores in the UK. It reflects the huge amount of work (and money) that we have put into the business.

How have you changed things at the brewery and moulded it to your own vision?

First and foremost it has been about recruiting a brewing team who are passionate about brewing the more modern beer styles such as New England IPAs. Secondly it was making sure we sourced the best ingredients, especially the hops, that it is possible to buy. Thirdly it was purchasing the equipment necessary to produce the modern beer styles in the right packaging formats.

Tell us about the decision to launch The Brewhouse Project tap-bar on the outskirts of the town.

The decision to launch a taproom is part of our broader strategy to sell more direct to the end consumer, and we are following this route with the launch of the Brewhouse and our new website. The end-point of this will be when we move the brewery into The Brewhouse and start to produce smaller batch beers. This should happen in the next six months providing we don’t have another lockdown!

What kind of beers will that allow you to make that you don’t currently?

We’re all about flavour and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. We’re inspired by brewers like Other Half in New York, who are looking at combining lots of different ingredients. For example we’re looking at a cocktail range at the moment. Can you make a beer inspired by a margherita, but is a Gose, using tequila smoked oak for instance?

Arundel Brewery is mostly visible on the pumps, the classic faves Dark and Gold, but the range has exploded recently to include loads of keg and canned options. Is trad cask still an important output for you, or is your focus shifting towards modern brewing?

The market is definitely moving towards keg and can. We’re seeing more and more people nationally putting our beers on taps and stocking cans, and I can only see that accelerating. We have seen cask reduce from 90% to 50% of our business, and unless the pricing in that market segment changes this will continue.

You recently entered into a collaboration with the Triple Hopped podcaster chaps, producing a hoppy whopper of an IPA at 8.2%. How did that come about?

We’ve been featured on the Triple Hopped podcast a few times. We worked together on this product for our first beer festival event, called Brewfest, which happened at The Brewhouse Project back in January. It was so popular that we thought we should do a remixed version – hence Green is Good!

Do you have other collaborations in the pipeline and if so who with?

We would like to collab with some Northern England based breweries, such as North or Pomona Island, especially in preparation for next year’s Brewfest event. Ideally we want to enter collabs where all the parties learn something from the experience.

You also proudly state that Untappd has five of Arundel’s beers at No.1 in their categories in the South East. We’re getting the impression you’re quite tech media savvy. What drives that modern online approach to your brand image?

It’s vital to know what our customers think of our beers, and we use Untappd extensively to guide our beer development. Untappd does get some criticism, because you inevitably get a few rather drunk ratings occasionally, but so many people use the app that on average it will tell you whether you have a winning beer or not!

What’s your favourite beer in the range at the moment, and why?

I would always go for whatever is fresh off the canning line, and especially for pale ales in those first few weeks after canning. They really show the fruity aromas and flavours to best effect.

Are there places in Brighton and Hove where you can regularly find Arundel Brewery beers?

Our beers are regularly on at the Bison outlets, and also The Pond and Easy Tiger.

What are your future plans, beer wise and for the brewery as a whole?

The next step for the brewery will be starting to produce at The Brewhouse Project, which will give us the ability to do smaller batches with more exotic ingredients. Because we can put it on our own taps there we can make more experimental beers, have full control over it, and also make The Brewhouse more of a destination.

It’s been our overall vision for the business – for customers to be able to see the beer being brewed, and to buy our products as fresh as possible.

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Arundel Brewery Interview: Tastemakers

With five beers topping Untappd’s regional charts, a popular new tap bar in its arsenal and loads of experimentation on the horizon, the castle brand seems determined to be the king of the flavour castle.

BBB interviews Arundel Brewery Director Stuart Walker to find out how his family team have turned a ‘twiggy’ traditional brand into one of Sussex’s beery tastemakers.

Introduce yourself, and give us a run-down on the team involved at Arundel Brewery.

I’m Stuart, the Director, and it’s a family affair. My wife Samantha runs The Brewhouse Project, I run the brewery and my son Henry does all the social media and events. We then have the brewing team, a team of eight, and a similar number staffing the brewhouse.

My background is in marketing; I lived the big corporate life but wanted to do something more meaningful and more authentic. I was living down here and got into Arundel Brewery beer. I wanted to be able to live and work in the same place and produce a very high quality product. Arundel fitted that change.

You took over the brewery around seven years ago. What was the state of things then?

It’s been a long journey from back when Arundel was a somewhat old fashioned ‘twiggy’ brewery to where we are now, although we still have a long way to go! Interestingly, when we took over the brewery our Untappd score was 3.3. Now we are at 3.62, which doesn’t sound a lot, but we have one of the fastest-growing Untappd scores in the UK. It reflects the huge amount of work (and money) that we have put into the business.

How have you changed things at the brewery and moulded it to your own vision?

First and foremost it has been about recruiting a brewing team who are passionate about brewing the more modern beer styles such as New England IPAs. Secondly it was making sure we sourced the best ingredients, especially the hops, that it is possible to buy. Thirdly it was purchasing the equipment necessary to produce the modern beer styles in the right packaging formats.

Tell us about the decision to launch The Brewhouse Project tap-bar on the outskirts of the town.

The decision to launch a taproom is part of our broader strategy to sell more direct to the end consumer, and we are following this route with the launch of the Brewhouse and our new website. The end-point of this will be when we move the brewery into The Brewhouse and start to produce smaller batch beers. This should happen in the next six months providing we don’t have another lockdown!

What kind of beers will that allow you to make that you don’t currently?

We’re all about flavour and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. We’re inspired by brewers like Other Half in New York, who are looking at combining lots of different ingredients. For example we’re looking at a cocktail range at the moment. Can you make a beer inspired by a margherita, but is a Gose, using tequila smoked oak for instance?

Arundel Brewery is mostly visible on the pumps, the classic faves Dark and Gold, but the range has exploded recently to include loads of keg and canned options. Is trad cask still an important output for you, or is your focus shifting towards modern brewing?

The market is definitely moving towards keg and can. We’re seeing more and more people nationally putting our beers on taps and stocking cans, and I can only see that accelerating. We have seen cask reduce from 90% to 50% of our business, and unless the pricing in that market segment changes this will continue.

You recently entered into a collaboration with the Triple Hopped podcaster chaps, producing a hoppy whopper of an IPA at 8.2%. How did that come about?

We’ve been featured on the Triple Hopped podcast a few times. We worked together on this product for our first beer festival event, called Brewfest, which happened at The Brewhouse Project back in January. It was so popular that we thought we should do a remixed version – hence Green is Good!

Do you have other collaborations in the pipeline and if so who with?

We would like to collab with some Northern England based breweries, such as North or Pomona Island, especially in preparation for next year’s Brewfest event. Ideally we want to enter collabs where all the parties learn something from the experience.

You also proudly state that Untappd has five of Arundel’s beers at No.1 in their categories in the South East. We’re getting the impression you’re quite tech media savvy. What drives that modern online approach to your brand image?

It’s vital to know what our customers think of our beers, and we use Untappd extensively to guide our beer development. Untappd does get some criticism, because you inevitably get a few rather drunk ratings occasionally, but so many people use the app that on average it will tell you whether you have a winning beer or not!

What’s your favourite beer in the range at the moment, and why?

I would always go for whatever is fresh off the canning line, and especially for pale ales in those first few weeks after canning. They really show the fruity aromas and flavours to best effect.

Are there places in Brighton and Hove where you can regularly find Arundel Brewery beers?

Our beers are regularly on at the Bison outlets, and also The Pond and Easy Tiger.

What are your future plans, beer wise and for the brewery as a whole?

The next step for the brewery will be starting to produce at The Brewhouse Project, which will give us the ability to do smaller batches with more exotic ingredients. Because we can put it on our own taps there we can make more experimental beers, have full control over it, and also make The Brewhouse more of a destination.

It’s been our overall vision for the business – for customers to be able to see the beer being brewed, and to buy our products as fresh as possible.

 

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