Originally Posted on Jul 06, 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 St. Peter’s Brewery.
St. Peter’s Brewery is based at St. Peter South Elmham, near Bungay in Suffolk. The brewery itself was built in 1996 and is housed in an attractive range of traditional former agricultural buildings adjacent to St. Peter’s Hall.
Who are you/what do you do? My name is Steve Magnall and I am the Chief Executive Officer of St. Peter’s Brewery Ltd. I am involved in everything from helping develop new beer styles, branding and sales.
When did your love affair with beer begin? I graduated with a Food Science degree and started in food. So everything from chickens, ready meals, bread to salads. 14 years ago, I was approached by Greene King, worked there for 9 years as a director, before going to Thwaites as MD for 3 years, before the business was sold to Marstons. I then joined ST. Peter’s where I have been for just over a year.
What was the inspiration for starting the brewery? The Brewery was started by John Murphy, renowned Brand Guru in 1996, so this year is our 20th anniversary. John whilst running his other business, Interbrand, could not find any good beers abroad, so set the business up to be ‘The International Brand of English Beer’
What’s the story behind the brewery name and logo? We are based in agricultural buildings attached to St. Peter’s Hall, a half moated medieval hall.
The logo represents a beer barrel. Inside the barrel is a green sail with a raven on it. This represents the Viking invaders who used to raid Suffolk and Norfolk (hence the moat to protect the Hall). The golden key inside the raven represents the golden key to St. Peter’s gates in heaven. St. Peter’s Hall is based in St. Peter’s South Elmham, near Bungay in Suffolk.
Where do you see, or hope to see, the brewery in 5 year’s time? I see a fantastic opportunity for growing the brand and business, we have a unique oval bottle, we do a great range of lifestyle beers – gluten free and organic as examples and are also developing some new and exciting beers. I hope we can double our business in the next 5 years and get our product in more people’s hands.
Looking ahead, what new things can we expect from St Peters over the coming months? We are working on some new porters (a great plum one coming soon), some wheat beers and also more Lifestyle beers. We are also packing in 330ml as well as 500ml bottles.
Are there any other breweries which have influenced you? I think all breweries have something unique about them or their brand. That’s why the UK has so many breweries
nowadays. Obvious ones which I believe have done well are Camden, Innis and Gunn, Beavertown, Purity…
What have you found to be the hardest thing to master when learning to brew? Balancing taste with hoppiness.
What do you think makes a great beer? One that you can come back to every time and surprises you with how good it is.
What was your first drink and where were you when you had it? Theakstons Old Peculiar in the Peak District on a 6th form trip.
What drink can you no longer face having had one too many? Cider or lager – whilst I can appreciate, I get full too quickly on these.
What is your favourite style of beer? I love wheat beers, but a nice golden refreshing ale does it for me. Konig Ludwig Weissbeer is a great example.
What is the silliest thing you’ve done whilst drunk? Lots of things, but like a few (I’m sure) I have woken up on a train several hundred miles away from my stop!
What is the best part of your job? Meeting people and introducing the beer. People love beer, so it’s a greet talking point.
You are stuck on a desert island, what three things are you taking with you? Assuming water, food and habitation are available… beer, music and a good book.
Thank you to Steve and St. Peter’s Brewery for talking with us.
You can browse and buy beers from St. Peter’s Brewery here.