There are a number of things that really enhance our enjoyment of life. Good food, drink, art, conversation, friends and music are just a few of these. So why is it that when we go and see music live most of the venues only sell less than desirable beer which has a debatable flavour and quality? This is something that Tom and Sam from Signature Brew want to change by getting craft beer into our favourite venues.
Signature brew was founded in 2011 by cousins Sam McGregor and Tom Bott. Sam had previously worked in the music industry and Tom was a brewer at another brewery. It was their joint passion for great beer and music that brought them together to found Signature Brew with the simple ethos of creating a union between fantastic beer and fantastic music. From personal experience I find that when I go and see live music I am quite often feeling left disappointed with everything but the music and the main source of my frustration is what I consider to be the poor beer that is on offer at the majority of venues. As such I do have a bit of a confession to make, I now tend to not enter the venue until just before the main act goes on stage as I would prefer to drink good beer elsewhere than watch a couple of lead up acts and drink less than desirable beer. This isn't good for anyone, the bands who have been working really hard to get a break and be a warm up act, the venue as they are missing out on punters giving them cash for drinks during the gig and then also for the revellers who might miss out on discovering a new favourite band. This is why I wanted to go and meet the guys at Signature Brew as they are on a crusade to change this for music fans everywhere.
The passion for music and great beer has led to a number of collaboration brews with artists such as Ed Harcourt, Enter Shikari and Mastadon to name a few. How this works is that the bands and artists will come to the brewery and help to create and brew a beer that is the liquid embodiment of what they do. This is great in that it allows the fans to drink a beer that the band would drink and fosters a greater connection to the music that they love. The brewery also supplies their beers to pubs, venues and on tour with the band so that the fans and musicians can enjoy them together.
Besides having there collaboration brewing series, they have a core range of beers which includes Roadie Pale Ale, Backstage IPA, Studio Lager and Black Vinyl Stout. These are all beers of a high quality where the decision has been made to use only the best ingredients that they can get their hands on. The story doesn't end there though. They are also taking part in some collaborations with other breweries such as their recent venture with The Yeastie Boys in creating Anticipation, a Japanese Rice Beer which is full of spice and a new flavour which I can't put my finger on, but must be from the addition of rice to the grain bill. It is an easy drinking adjunct lager which is very sessionable. Other collaborations are in the pipeline and one of these is with a Hungarian bar where Signature are looking to launch one of the first and if not the first cask beer in Hungary, where the keg is king, in a generation.
Keeping in line with the music theme their pump clips and can labels have been designed to mimic a backstage pass. This links in perfectly with their inspiration and ethos, it also ties in with their aspiration to be known as the brewery associated with live music and bands. The passion of both Sam and Tom is immediately evident when you talk to them and the way in that they have been able to link two of their favourite things into a business is something which can be an inspiration for all of us.
So what about the brewery itself? They have a 10bbl kit which is originally from 5 Points Brewing and really highlights the truly collaborative nature of the craft beer scene in the UK. They brew on average three times a week producing 1600-1800L of beer per batch and then package their beer in both cask, keg and cans for us to enjoy. The decision to use cans was a strategic one and through a good working relationship with the mobile canning company, Them that Can, Signature Brew are able to package their beer in distinctive 330mL cans and this has enabled them to get more of their beer into music venues around the country. The first cans were introduced to the public in a joint launch of Studio Lager, Roadie and Backstage IPA with Independent Venue Week. If you want to get your hands on some of them you can order them through the brewery's online shop or pick them up from other reputable beer suppliers. They also have recently added a tap room, The Backstage Bar, to the brewery and are working out the best way to open this to the public. So stay tuned to their webpage and social media feeds to know when this will be open for everyone to enjoy.
What does the future hold for Signature Brew? They are looking to get their beer into more music venues and pubs as well as some festivals. There might also be the addition of a mobile bar in the not to distant future which would mean they can pitch up and start to get their beer into the hands of even more revellers. All of this makes the future of Signature Brew look like they are going to turn it up to 11 and continue to pump out the fantastic beers that they are producing.