Why are all craft beers invented by three mates in a garden shed? With 2,000 breweries in the UK, craft brands are looking for ways to stand out By NICOLE KOBIE Thursday 4 April 2019
Superheros have origin stories — and so do craft brewers. Read the side of your can of saison or pale ale, or click the "about" page on the website for a crowdfunded, East London brewery, and you'll get a story of two friends who met while travelling, a career change driven by passion for beer, or a frustration at the lack of quality IPAs available.
"Tom and Dave met in China on a rock climbing tour around Asia," reads Brew By Numbers' history, while Bianca Road begins: "It all started back in 2014 with a bike ride, 4800 miles from San Francisco to Miami." Deviant & Dandy reveals: "We love making beer and most importantly hanging out with people enjoying beer and good banter." Pressure Drop, makers of an XPA, would win at craft beer bingo: "Pressure Drop began life as three friends brewing in a garden shed," says the about page on its website. Friends? Check. Grungy outbuilding? Check. The website goes on to mention a dedication to quality, focus on innovation and "the kind of beers we, as beer lovers, want to drink".
There's a reason so many craft breweries want to tell you about their founding stories. Melissa Cole, author and beer judge, says such backstories help new brands stand out. "It’s always been a trend because so often there is a nice human-interest story behind brands starting up and it feeds into the aspirational aspect of the craft beer world, whether that’s aspiring to drink the beer or aspiring to open your own brewery," she says. "A lot is also about people liking to see people doing what they love — it makes you feel like they will be putting their all into a product."
And it does help sell the beer, says Mike Deal, head brewer at Wildcraft Brewery, which launched last year after a crowdfunding campaign. "Any story that we can put behind the company… sells the beer," he says. "People like a story behind something."