Q and A, UK Beer and Breweries

Coniston Brewery | Q&A

Coniston Brewery | Q&A
Originally Posted on Sep 14, 2016

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 Coniston Brewery.  Hidden behind the Black Bull in Coniston, their roots are in the hotel and licensed trade meaning they know a thing or too about quality and service. Their beers are brewed with the pure waters of the Coniston hills with the finest hops and malts.

Who are you and what do you do?   I’m Ian Bradley, MD of Coniston Brewery.

When did your love affair with beer begin?   In 1993 with a Sunderland University Brewlab start up brewing course.  My parents owned a pub and my father had the idea for an onsite microbrewery.  City and Guilds Motor Vehicle Engineering are my only qualifications

What was the inspiration for starting the brewery?  It was my father’s idea, after tasting beer at the Gribble Inn Chichester from their own microbrewery.  Dad had always loved beer and was tired of drinking ordinary tasting ales.

What’s the story behind the brewery name and logo?  Coniston brewery OBVS. Mountain and lake logo OBVS.

Where do you see, or hope to see, the brewery in 5 year’s time?   Hopefully the brewery will be just as it is now in 5 years time, running at near capacity, with happy customers and a happy Brewhouse.

Looking ahead, what new things can we expect from Coniston over the coming months?   We are producing three canned beers as we speak, apart from that nothing too ground breaking.

Are there any other breweries which have influenced you?   Sam Smith’s has always been one of my favourite breweries.  Some of our beers are quite similar, this maybe due to the fact that David Smith, Coniston Brewery’s consultant, was head brewer there 30 years ago.

What have you found to be the hardest thing to master when learning to brew?   The brewing process has all been very straight forward, our yeast behaves itself and I have a good team under me. Maybe the hardest thing is spending most of my time in the office now rather than the hands on brewing.

What do you think makes a great beer?   The best ingredients, a dedicated workforce with a passion for what they do and consistency all goes to make a great beer.

What was your first drink and where were you when you had it?   Tetley Bitter at the Albion pub Chorley. I was six years old and this was my parent’s first pub.

What drink can you no longer face having had one too many?   Martini is not good for me anymore, but I can live with that.

What is your favourite style of beer?    An English hopped standard bitter is what I always come back to, but I love the new American hopped IPAs and Belgium has so many amazing beers. All beer is good it’s just that some are better than others. It all depends on the occasion, mood and what’s on offer. Oh, we do a single hop English bitter quite well I think.

What is the silliest thing you’ve done whilst drunk?  I can’t remember 😉

What is the best part of your job?   The best and most satisfying part of our job is when a customer comes to the brewery out of the blue and is genuinely excited and amazed about the beer they have just drunk.

You are stuck on a desert island, what three things are you taking with you?  5,000 screw top bottles of beer, a large net and a paddle.  Drink the beer over a period of time then fill the large net with empty bottles sit on the large bottle net raft you have made and paddle home.

Thanks to Ian and Coniston Brewery for chatting to us.

You can view and buy beers from Coniston Brewery here.