Headlines magazine always likes to go that one step further for our customers and we are often asked how we make our decisions on what range tick the right boxes for us and of course our trusting customers. Well, it’s a tough job tasting them all that’s for sure (it’s a hard life!) but we always like to get to know the creators of the brews we supply. As it’s the passion of the people behind these pilsners and pinots that makes them so special and make them truly individual. So, this month we took a visit to The Surrey Hills to meet Luke Herman and Andrew McMorran – the brains and brewers behind The Crafty Brewing Co. – producers of some very tasty craft ales that are arriving at Tolchards.
SO, GUYS – A VERY WARM WELCOME TO HEADLINES MAGAZINE! YOU HAVE A VERY MODERN BREW HOUSE HERE ON THE FARM. IS THIS HOW IT ALL STARTED?
LH: Oh, if only! What you see here is pretty big for a micro-craft brewery. If we needed to we could brew up to 3 million litres a year. But this is all a very long way from where it all began. As an experiment!
In the early days I brewed in an old lorry body. I had a 100-litre brew kit – not much bigger than something you might use for home-brew. I could make one firkin (72 pints) and 12 bottles at a time for the local pub and village shop. But when word began to spread, I was brewing three times a day, six days a week for a collection of pubs across Surrey. It totally killed my social life but that was the beginning – and I loved it.
TELL US WHAT MAKES CRAFTY BREWING SPECIAL?
LH: Well, as a craft brewery, the excellence of our beer has to be of paramount importance. We use only four simple, natural ingredients - the finest we can find of course - barley, hops, yeast and water. It’s that attention to detail that has won us all our awards and our new customers. Several of our beers have been judged to be the finest in the London and the South East so we’re thrilled that Hop Tipple IPA for example (a SIBA 2017 Gold Award winner) will be finding new audiences across the South of England with Tolchards.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE SECRET OF CRAFTY BREWING’S SUCCESS?
AM: Thankfully, good news is still worth sharing! So, I’d say word-of-mouth has been our greatest secret weapon. We can’t afford to invest in advertising so the beers have to speak for themselves. And that’s the reason we love to work with people who share our passion for excellence. Tolchards has a reputation for being a great judge of quality so we’re delightedto be listed by one of the finest drinks wholesalers in the country.
And I should add it’s our passion for all the little details that matter. Every pint has a job to do. For us making great-tasting beers is a means to
an end - the real goal is trying to get a smile from every sip. It’s deeply satisfying to see a customer momentarily breaking their conversation to glance at their glass in admiration.This is what makes beer so extraordinarily sociable. That tiny act is a huge nod to our brewer’s skill and,
we hope, the prospect of a second pint; it makes it all worthwhile – for us, the landlord and of course the customer.