I love beer. I really love craft beer. I also love wine, whisky, gin and a whole bunch of other stuff but we're talking about beer. We have witnessed a change in world beers over the last 25 years that's the background to why I do what I do.
But first off - why Egghead Brewery. I love brewing my own beer and I've been doing it for over 30 years. I originally did it to produce cheap beer but over time as my circustances changed, it was quality and consistency that mattered most. I reached the "you could sell this" moment in the late nineties but since I had a job I did nothing about it. I've still got a job (at least 3 actually) but it's time to start doing things I really love - things I'm really passionate about. I want to regret the things I've done not the things I haven't done. So let's start a craft brewery!
And now a bit of history...
The 80's and 90's
For some reason there was a huge influx of foreign beers into the UK at this time. Up until now ales were very traditional and lager was considered foreign but increasingly desirable. This is despite the fact that lagers of the 80's and 90's were either not even trying to be foreign (Harp, etc.), foreign sounding (Hofmeister, Skol, etc.) or actually foreign but brewed under licence (Fosters, Carlsberg, etc.). They were also incredibly simlar. The second wave was of foreign bottled beers and these had the advantage of being genuinely foreign and often very good. For example Budvar and Pilsener Urquell from the then Czechoslovakia made an appearance in Britain. Belgian beers like Chimay, Orval and Westmalle also started showing up in the UK. These beers were different, slightly exotic and actually good!
Meanwhile - across the Atlantic...
a few new/revived craft breweries were coming into life. Anchor Steam, Widmer Brothers, Sierra Nevada - all in the West; Samuel Adams and others in the East. These again were producing craft beers that were actually good - especially when compared with the identikit light lagers being produced by the massive national brewers in the US.
I remember wading through some pretty revolting muddy ales in the US at that time. They were often very strong, very turbid and not overly hoppy. That changed pretty quickly as the hoppier brewers (like Sierra Nevada) began to be the most successful.
The 21st Century
In the last 15 years or so, the US beer market has really been leading the world in innovation and this new beer culture has started to permeate abroad. As with many things - like rock 'n' roll - the plucky Brits have cottoned on to how successful these new craft beers styles have become, started to make them in the UK and - this is the key - brought their own style and traditions, innovations and twists.
Now let's be clear. We have been drinking and enjoying the new wave of British craft breweries' craft beers. People like Evin O'Riordain at the Kernel have broken the mould of British breweries - so much so that more traditional breweries such as Adnams have started to produce more varied and extreme beers rather than sticking to three or four never changing beers.
Taking up the Baton
So this is where Egghead comes in. We're going to push on, creating innovative new beers, learning from the rich brewing history of the world and above all - making great beer.