#FromTheAshes: Interview With Organisers of Beer Makes Glasgow
From the ashes of the Great Scottish Beer Celebration, Beer Makes Glasgow has reared its hoppy head and taken on the challenge of concocting a brand new beer festival in Scotland’s craftiest city. We sat down for a chat with the brewers and organisers at the centre of this fantastic event to discuss donating to Drumchapel food bank, the celebration of beer and community, and the future of the craft beer scene in Glasgow.
Can you tell me a bit about Beer Makes Glasgow and what it involves?
Conor (Organiser, Café Source Too): Beer makes Glasgow was formed as a result of the untimely closure of the Hippo Beers family. The closure of the Hippo Beers shop, Fusion distribution, Taproom and of course Great Scottish Beer Celebration festival came as a massive shock to everyone. The GSBC was in its third year and was considered by many to be the go to craft beer festival in Glasgow.
Around a week after the announcement that the festival would no longer go ahead, Jake Griffin of Up Front Brewing contacted me. Jake and a number of other brewers that had been a part of GSBC had been chatting and throwing around a few different ideas and looking into the possibility of still going ahead with the event. I must say I felt pretty honoured to be asked to help.
The gist of it was this – we had no funding, potentially no venue, 500 tickets had already been sold, of which there was no revenue (everything had of course been taken by the administrators) and the ticket holder and most of the brewers alike had been informed that the event was no longer going ahead. We had three weeks and we were going to do it all in the name of charity. It was a bit of a long shot, but we figured it was possible.
The money is going to Drumchapel food bank, what can you tell me about that?
Conor: Drumchapel Food Bank is one of the largest Food Banks in Glasgow. It receives no government funding and is not supported by any other charitable organisations. They run a weekly drop in service to which clients must be referred to them. This could be by their GP, social worker etc. They are also one of the only food banks that run an emergency drop in service for clients and this covers the whole of the Glasgow area.
100 % of all door money and donations at the festival will go towards the food bank. This will be spent on all sorts of food products, personal hygiene products, children’s clothes and toys and perhaps will help go towards their training programme that will see that clients are trained in cooking skills and educated on the importance of good health and nutrition. There will be representatives of the charity at the event and a short documentary that is currently being filmed about the event and charity will educate the public more on the importance and the necessity of the Food Bank and how the money will be spent.
How many breweries are involved in the event?
Chris (Drygate): Drygate, Up Front, Gallus & Dead End Brew Machine from Glasgow as well as Out of Town from Cumbernauld. We’ll also have Tryst, Fallen, St Andrew’s Brewing Company, Camper Van Brewing and Cross Borders. As well as the best of Scottish breweries, we’ll have an international beer bar from Grunting Growler, which is a craft beer shop, growler fill station and tasting room in the west end of Glasgow.
What got you guys into brewing in the first place?
Sam (Drygate): I came into it relatively recently, from drinking it, more than anything! I think Jake was the opposite.
Jake: I think that’s true. I certainly didn’t start out making beer, I started out making wine. I had an allotment and surplus fruit. I got pretty good and started giving them away as presents. At the time I was drinking real ale and it was getting into the beer that made me start to look for better beers and it went from there. I won a home brew competition, and I was offered a job on the back of that.
Ben (Gallus): Home brewing. I was pretty terrible, but kept doing it and started getting better. I came to Glasgow and started attending the home brew club at the Brewdog bar in Kelvingrove. I then realised that people liked drinking my beer, then I saw the opportunity at Drygate to use the studio kit.
What are you most excited about happening at the event?
Sam: We have loads of new fancy beers that we’re looking forward to getting out into the hands of the public. We have our 1000th brew ‘Orpheus’, a 10.4% imperial stout with blackcurrant and lap sang souchong loose leaf tea. We also have a variety of others including Battle Sour Galactica, a rye gose with blood orange.
Chris: We’re re-launching our Cranachan stout which was infused with oak spirals as well as our new 9.1% Dopplebock ‘Bock n’ Roll’ made with surplus fresh rolls from Morton’s. There’s a lot of awesome beer we’ll be pouring at Beer Makes Glasgow.
Jake: Up Front is also launching a new beer. It’s a key lime and alfonso mango gose. I’ll also have Yojo, a passionate fruit kalamansi gose, and Ahab and Ishmael, my core beers.
Chris: It’s an opportunity not only for brewers to sell beer, but to show off new weird and wonderful brews!