Are you curious to know about the people behind the beers you buy? Or perhaps you want to know what inspires brewers to brew and beer bloggers to blog? Our “Q&A” posts are a light hearted way of getting to know people working in, and connected to, the beer and alcohol industry.
Today’s post features Hepworth & Co Brewers.
Who are you/what do you do? I am Andy Hepworth, Head Brewer and Managing Director of Hepworth & Company Brewers Ltd.
We started our brewery in 2000, after the brewery we worked at in Horsham was bought out and closed. As professional brewers and engineers we decided to use our skills to design and build a high quality brewery that was able to brew lagers as well as ales and bottle and keg them as well as cask beer.
How did you get into this line of work? I joined the Simmons Brewery in Reading in 1975, which was part of Courage Group, having spent two years at Reading University playing table football and drinking, when I should have been studying Microbiology. Five years later Courage built a nice new beer factory by the M4 and I realised that I did not want to watch a computer and instead wanted to do what I had enjoyed learning in that time, so moved to King and Barnes, a traditional regional brewer in Horsham.
What is your favourite beer, wine or spirit? Beer is my favourite drink, as a 6 ft 4 ex-rugby playing motorcyclist I like a long refreshing drink.
What do you think makes a great beer? A great beer is made from great ingredients grown by good farmers, and brewed by craftsmen who honour tradition while harnessing modern technology, and has to be drunk in good company.
What was your first drink and where were you when you had it? My first drink was a glass of white wine and water at the age of eight on the beach in the south of France. I think the next was a pint of Friary Bitter after a junior rugby match.
What is your favourite style of beer? The beer I enjoy most is the first pint of Old Ale at the beginning of the winter season in a pub with open fire.
Bottled or canned beer? Bottled or can, actually cask closely followed a bottled conditioned beer. As a technical brewer I know enough to say the only time a canned beer is as good as a bottled beer is the minute before it got into the can.
What is the best part of your job? The best part of my job is when I taste a great beer, that I brewed myself. Job satisfaction in a pint glass.
What was the inspiration for starting the brewery? We started the brewery because we like brewing a great pint of beer, and we realised that the skills we had were best suited to producing high quality lagers, stouts as well as ales, and all our competitors were just brewing cask beer.
Where do you see, or hope to see, the brewery in 5 years time? In five years’ time we will have moved to our new brewery and settled in, and hopefully built up a small estate of our own pubs to preserve those traditional aspects of pub life we seem to be losing rapidly.
Are there any other breweries which have influenced you? The breweries that have influenced me, everyone I have ever visited. Each one is unique and usually that do something better than your own.
Where did you learn to brew? I started to learn brewing at Simmons and have continued to learn every day since, and the cliché that the more you know, the more you realise you still have to learn is certainly true of brewing.
What is the hardest thing to master when learning to brew? When I was young it was to back experience rather than the text books, as I get older ‘humility’ I still don’t know it all.
Have you always been a brewer or did you do different jobs before this? I am extremely lucky to find a job I love, I have always been a brewer and I have a strong feeling I always will be.
Thank you to Andy and Hepworth & Co Brewers for taking the time to take part.
You can view and buy beers from Hepworth & Co Brewers.here