Hi, how are you? (Part I)
Hello. Thanks for showing an interest in Simple Things Fermentations!
Here’s a bit of info about what’s been happening and what to expect over the next few weeks and months - answers to the sort of questions I’d be asking, and indeed people have been asking me.
I’m well aware that we’re all very busy people these days and that’s why I’ve split this update into two easily digestible portions:
This part, below, tells you a bit about the type of brewery Simple Things is and some of the thinking and inspiration behind it.
The next instalment will offer a bit more detail on what to expect - the types of beers we’ll be brewing, where and when they’ll be available, and so on.
If at the end of all this you think I’ve missed anything important, please do feel free to get in touch.
So first, a brief explanation of how we arrived at this point:
Simple Things Fermentations is - for now at least - me, Phil Sisson. I started homebrewing in London while working as manager of Strongroom, a recording studio complex in Shoreditch. The family and I moved to Glasgow in late 2015 and in 2016 I enrolled on the M.Sc. Brewing & Distilling course at Heriot-Watt, graduating the following year. During this period, amazingly, I had two beers released commercially nationwide - one which I brewed with Thornbridge, after winning a homebrew competition, and another with Stewart Brewing, as part of the Natural Selection project. After graduating I spent the next couple of years travelling daily to Harviestoun Brewery in Alva, and it was really during my time here that Simple Things was conceived.
An hour’s drive each way, often while listening to brewing podcasts, with mornings and evenings spent reading textbooks, magazines, journals and blogs plus endless hours weighing out hops, emptying mash tuns and so on provided me with bucketfuls of information and inspiration and ample opportunity to ponder the type of brewery that I wanted Simple Things to be. I’d read and hear the likes of Garret Oliver, Logan Plant, Charlie Bamforth and many others offering their thoughts on brewing success and I’d then ruminate on how this applied to my situation, with certain things having a particular resonance with my own beer passions, experience and preferences.
Some of the key things to come out of all this contemplation include:
- A desire to focus on British and European brewing heritage and culture, with a modern and innovative approach
- The intention to look beyond current brewing trends with regard to beer flavour
- A commitment to achieving the highest level of product quality possible, through selection of the best ingredients and careful implementation of procedures and checks
- An understanding of what the brand should be
- The ‘start small and grow organically’ business strategy
I won’t go into too much detail here but it’s interesting to note how much planning and evaluation happening during this period, some of it very broad and general, some really specific, and all with the aim of creating something reasonably unique, that reflects me and my background. A big thanks to everyone who contributed to this tapestry; there are too many to name individually but I wouldn’t be where I am without those people who generously write and talk about what they do.
Which more or less brings us up to date, other than to say something about how thoughts and words are now turning into a tangible reality.
Back in May, I found an ad on Gumtree for a workshop available to rent in Muirend; just 5 minutes drive from home and right behind a pub - The Bank. I bought a second hand 4 BBL brewhouse and fermentation vessels from The Park Brewery in Kingston, who in turn had bought it from Bad Seed Brewery.
I’m in the process of turning all of this into a safe, pleasant and efficient working environment capable of producing beer in line with the plan formed over the last couple of years. I’ve found an excellent Glasgow-based designer to work with and hope to have beer available for sale in time for Christmas. But more about that tomorrow.
Thanks for reading, and as I said - please do get in touch if you have any questions.