Happy New Year to you all! In the frequently futile tradition of new year resolutions, we’ve decided to start writing monthly blog posts. Hopefully this commitment will last longer than your average well-intentioned Hogmanay pledge.
Why start blogging now? I’ve never been one for shouting my opinions from the rooftops and with the endless tasks that need doing around a busy brewery, communicating direct to our followers has unfortunately taken a back seat. However, with friends, customers and drinkers alike wanting to engage and know more about what we do, it feels that the time is right to start telling you about the passion and dedication that goes into every pint we brew. We also want an avenue to share our exciting current and future plans as we look to grow and expand in 2019 and beyond.
Fallen Brewing has always been about making great beer. Beer that we love to drink. If you drink one of our beers and you don’t want another one, we’ve failed. Quality and drinkability are two words we hear a lot which makes us unbelievably happy. An old associate used the word ‘repeatpurchasability’ and that’s exactly what we aim for. Beer that brings you back for another (responsibly!). Just the right balance of flavour and drinkability: malt bases that are satisfyingly chewy without being cloying; hop profiles that are flavourful and aromatic without being crushingly, overwhelmingly bitter; adjuncts that complement, rather than define, a beer and ABVs that (generally) allow you to have a few without getting irresponsible! Perhaps the best word for what we try to achieve is ‘Balance’.
We’ve been thinking a lot recently about our place in the fast-moving microbrewery market, who we are and what we think you guys expect from us. In terms of where we sit in the market, it’s probably somewhere in the middle of ‘craft’ and ‘traditional’. This was never a conscious decision, just a consequence of the beers we make and the packaging formats we’ve always used. Cask is (and will remain) a big and proud part of what we do, but we brew plenty of beers that are more suited to keg. We’ve always focused on a diverse ‘something-for-everyone’ core-range but that’s mostly because it’s the beers we love drinking. As a small brewery we’ve always found it hard to keep a large core range in stock so we’ve recently cut it down to 4 beers. A Blonde (Odyssey) that quenches the thirst, a Session IPA (Local Motive) with a bit more malt character to go along with your Sunday roast (or Mini Cheddars!), a Pale Ale (Grapevine) for the moderate hopheads and a slightly more out-there Salted Caramel Milk Stout (Chew Chew) for the dark beer lovers. The core range is complemented by a range of occasional/regular beers (Platform C, Just The Ticket, Blackhouse, Branch Line, Dragonfly, Sleeper Pils to name a few) and a series of one-offs.
One-off specials and collaborations are a big part of what we do. We’ve brewed everything from a 10% Raspberry and Salted Caramel Milk Stout (Big Raspberry Dog Chew, with BrewDog Glasgow staff) to a 2.7% Table Beer (Light Freight), fruit beers, sours, barrel-aged stouts and wee heavys and many different styles in between. I personally love them all but always look forward to coming back to Odyssey when I just want a beer!
The past year and the path ahead
So what about 2018? It was a year of consolidation really. We’ve been operating at capacity for most of the year (4 x 10BBL brews per week) having continued to supply our loyal independent trade customers and taken on contracts with some of the multiple retailers. However, we desperately need to expand our output to take on any additional accounts of significance. Anyone who has visited us in Kippen at the old railway station will know how much we’re struggling with building space. We don’t have any inside space for the additional equipment or storage that would be needed to expand our output beyond what we currently produce. As a direct result of this, I’m afraid we can’t offer tours or visits at the moment, we just don’t have the space or infrastructure to give you guys a polished visitor experience. We’re working on an expansion plan for the existing site but we’re not ready to reveal the details just yet (worst teaser ever!).
2018 also brought some great collaborations and one-off brews. The North Sea Bridges project involving 6 x Scottish and 6 x Scandinavian breweries in particular was a highlight with great beers being produced across the board. Our ‘Tap Saff’ collab with Beerbliotek was a Saffron & Spruce DIPA (8.5% featuring Citra and Sorachi Ace, saffron pulp and juicy spruce tips foraged from the brewery garden. Some other highlights from 2018 for us include ‘Border Town Jive’ a 4.6% hibiscus and lime pale ale with ‘Lupe Pintos’ for the Edinburgh Chili Cook-Off, ‘Double Barrelled Chew Chew’, a stronger bourbon cask-aged version of our much loved milk stout and ‘Arrival’ a 7% Rye IPA which was our Head Brewer Angus’ first beer launched at Fallen.
One area that we’ve really neglected over the past year (since Alesela sadly went out of business) is online sales. It’s a route-to-market we really can’t afford to ignore any longer so we’ll soon be offering our own online ‘click-and-collect’ and home delivery options. We’ve just received notification that our site alcohol license has been approved and the ordering portal is being designed and built as we speak.
To kick off 2019, we’re launching the first in our ‘Surf-Line’ series of West Coast IPAs and Pales. Focusing on big hop flavours, solid bitterness profiles and juicy malts, these beers are a nod to the 18 months we spent living and working in San Diego. We’ll be launching regular one-off IPAs and Pales this year so keep an eye on what’s coming up. The first beer (Taiheke:Citra a 6.6% IPA) was launched last week and is racking up some pretty hefty Untappd ratings so grab some while you can. The first Pale (Idaho 7:Simcoe) is launching on the first week of February in cask, keg and can. As well as the excitement around the beers, we’re also excited about the supercool artwork that adorns each can which was created by my great friend Zain Kapasi. You can check out some of his other work and musings here (www.thegeneralprocrastinator.com).
The remainder of 2019 will feature a lot of collaborations, one-off specials and expansion planning! As our New Year Resolution promises, we’ll keep you much better informed going forward.
So there you have it. Inaugural blog completed. A quick whistle-stop of who we are, what we’re about, a review of 2018 and a quick look at what’s in store for 2019. In a fast-moving market, we’re massively looking forward to the next twelve months.
Thanks everyone for your continued support and we’re looking forward to working with you all in 2019.
Paul and The Fallen Brewing Team
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