This week sees us chatting to Wylam Brewery, a brewery that we have just started to stock.
Founded in 2000 Wylam is a 30 Barrel Micro Brewery that resides at the Palace of Arts in Exhibition Park. It is the last remaining building from the 1929 North East Exhibition, was a project to celebrate craft, art and industry at the start of the Great Depression. Having been derelict for nearly a decade, the building has burst back into life with the brewery and brewery tap, which is open to the public four days of the week.
Who are you and what do you do? I’m Dave Stone I am one of the owners and Directors here at Wylam Brewery. What do I do? I drink beer for a living which to be honest is immense.
How did you get into this line of work? I started out in music and then some clever folks invented this thing called the internet. I soon realised that this would break the music model. Loads of people were just pinching music by downloading it for free. I had a family of four to feed so I turned to my second love (other than the wife and kids of course!) … beer.
What was the inspiration for starting the brewery? I didn’t start the brewery, Wylam has been going since the year 2000. When I came out of music and music promotion, I opened a couple of pubs with my business partner and we fast became Wylam’s biggest customer. There was a real synergy between us so we became partners.
What’s the story behind the brewery name and logo? The brewery is named after the village it was founded in. Wylam is in Northumberland on Hadrian’s Wall. The brewery was founded in a potting shed in the village with the single ambition of getting a decent pint in The Boathouse, which was our founding fathers local in the village.
The logo is pretty new, we had a ‘brand realignment’ last year. It was the first time in 16 years we’d had time to sit down and view everything as one. Up until then everything had happened relatively ad hoc as demand grew. We used a local company called Tac Design, they really got the brief.
Where do you see, or hope to see, the brewery in 5 years’ time? We are continuously opening up new accounts though our network of quality independent distributors. For 15 years we were pretty much North East centric. So it’s great to see our beers in quality beer bars and bottle shops across the UK and beyond.
We don’t have a plan to take over the world. For us it’s about the quality of the liquid and establishing relationships. In five years if we are growing organically as we have to date and meeting great people, travelling the world and drinking excellent beer we will be more than happy.
Looking ahead, what new things can we expect from Wylam over the coming months? Well we are brewing a lot of one offs these days. It keeps it interesting for followers of the brewery and for our brew team. So expect to see loads of one time never to be repeated limited edition brews as well as us pouring at the best beer events around the UK.
Are there any other breweries which have influenced you? Many and to be honest that’s one of the amazing things about our industry. It’s collaborative, it’s passionate and it’s friendly. Not a week goes by without someone pushing the envelope and we all learn from each other and we all help to push the quality up which is brilliant to be part of.
What do you think makes a great beer? Water, malt, hops, yeast, passion, cleanliness and experience with a dash of daring and a whole load of love.
What drink can you no longer face having had one too many? Tequila. It’s a long and sordid tale of which I will spare you the grimy detail.
What is your favourite style of beer? Tricky one. Honestly speaking I like all types of beer. I get asked this question a lot and my usual answer is Good Beer.
What is the silliest thing you’ve done whilst drunk? Wow! I have done a lot of silly things when drunk and I do not intend to admit any of them in print 😉
You are stuck on a desert island, what three things are you taking with you? Well that would depend on the company and if I had beer or not. In good company, and with beer, I like to talk about the inane, the ridiculous and the unknown. So maybe that.
Thanks to Dave and Wylam for chatting with us.