Ex-Sipsmith duo break into lower alcohol beer sector

Ex Sipsmith duo James Grundy and Felix James have announced the opening of what they have described as “the world’s first ‘small beer’ brewery”, which will be dedicated to the lower alcohol beer sector.

The new company, which is based in South Bermondsey, aims to reinvent the entire brew process from start to finish with new methodology which the pair said enables them to create “phenomenally full flavoured beer at a lower abv”.

The Small Beer Brew Co will initially brew a lager (2.1% abv) and a dark lager (1% abv). Lower abv beers will be the core focus of the company, which has a pledge of “Small Beer, with Big Taste”.

‘Small Beer’ was the name given to beers that were traditionally brewed between 0.5 and 2.8% abv, and it is a concept that dates back to the 1700s when – with clean drinking water hard to come by – it became a staple everyday refreshment.

Grundy said: “Our past experience is about helping transform a drinks sector and providing the consumer with better choice and quality through bringing something fresh to the game, and in turning our energies towards low alcohol beer, there is a massive opportunity to deliver a reinvention here too. We are pioneering an entirely new brew process while respecting the craftsmanship of centuries old small beer traditions; this combined with James’ phenomenal brewing expertise has allowed us to maximise the flavour profile while minimizing the alcohol we produce. The great joy is that is an entirely natural process, instead of cooking off the alcohol or stripping it out, we are brewing to strength, which is unheard of.

“Beer is a fantastically sociable drink, and we are developing a fresh modern repertoire with our combination of lower abv levels and packed in flavour to help beer fans enjoy good lager where otherwise they may currently feel a need to abstain, turn to a soft sugar filled alternative or feel the effects the following day. It is about taking part and this beer lets us have all of the enjoyment without slowing us down.”

The company also has a commitment to high levels of sustainability throughout, including minimal waste levels, through to recycled labeling and renewable energy powering the brewery. The duo said it typically takes ten pints of water to make a single pint of beer, but they have reduced this to one and a half pints of water per beer.

Head brewer James added: “We are open for business, brewing, and sharing our beers for feedback before we hit the shelves and bars for beer drinkers across the nation to buy. Part of our approach is to shape the brewery as a community, building on the sociability of what we produce and using our space for live music, exhibitions and even yoga. So we would love people to drop by, share a glass with their friends and discover how small beers can pack a big taste.”

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