Ever since Don Graves and I started the brewery in Cambridge back in May 1997 we have had fantastic and enthusiastic support from the local CAMRA branch. I wish to take this opportunity to thank you all very much. Long may it continue!
Cambridge has been a difficult city to set up a brewery in as there are very few free houses or tied pubs that can actually take a guest beer. Many people ask me why they cannot buy the beers in more outlets around the city, and that is the only reason. Many licensees have expressed an interest and desire to stock the beers if only they could. Let us continue to fight the political struggle to free up the market.
The brewery's aim right from the beginning was to produce a quality product that was consistent. We feel we have achieved that and wish to build upon this in the future. We are proud owners of CAMRA beer festival awards, plus recently an English Ale Award from the National Hop Association.
The future of the brewery looks bright. I took on Ian Burton (ex-Adnams) as our brewer in September 1998 and he has improved efficiency and yield dramatically. And the place always looks TIDY!
We are up to our maximum capacity of 14 barrels a week, and we are keen to purchase new brewing equipment, but are wondering how to shoe-horn it into our existing site. With this in mind, we are thinking of relocating out of the city so we can afford bigger premises, particularly as most of our business comes from the pubs outside Cambridge.
As everyone who has tried them knows, our beers are distinct from one another (apart from the underlying Cambridge taste, we're told!), and we have only recently begun to experiment with blending beers to create different ABVs, as other micros do. Our Blend 42 - a smooth, pleasing balance of hop and crystal malt, and at 4.4% a nice strength for quality ale drinking - has received a tremendous reception in pubs. It takes its name from the answer to the ultimate question of "life, the universe and everything", according to Douglas Adams' Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Another blend, Darwin's Downfall (5.0% ABV) was created using a best bitter and a porter - what a fantastic combination! We think we've found the answer to evolution.
Thank you for your support.