Paul Seiffert and Terry Langton created the Liverpool Craft Beer Company in 2010
and have been creating new brews for Liverpool’s pubs and music venues for two
years. With no experience or money, but a little knowledge, behind them they repaired a haul of second-hand equipment, quit their jobs and settled into a railway arch in Vauxhall.
Their approach to unusual bespoke brews, commitment to excellent beer – in cask or keg – and adaptation of American-style craft brews has made the Craft Beer Company one of the most innovative of Liverpool’s microbreweries. We caught up with them over an American Red to hear their story.
How did you start out?
We started brewing our beers in our kitchen until the point came when we decided
to make the leap and find our own premises, which we rewired ourselves. We both
left our jobs and started to put together the equipment required to brewing in the volumes required to start selling more widely.
We couldn’t afford to buy new, so we reconditioned most of our brewery kit and
added to it bit by bit, so it took us around a year before we were making and selling our brews. It wasn’t a quick process and other breweries in our position might have bought the kit new; we weren’t in a position to do that but we learned a lot along the way through determination and passion.
Why is real ale and craft ale suddenly more popular with younger drinkers?
The explosion of microbreweries has exposed beer drinkers to all manner of new
brews and lots more variety. The way we’ve positioned our beers in terms of the
branding and the venues we’ve worked with has certainly helped to align us with a
younger audience too.
The rise of microbreweries was facilitated by a change in tax laws that mean you
get a big tax break if you brew under 50,000 litres a week and preferential rates up to 300,000 litres. It’s allowed smaller brewers to thrive and offer quality alternatives to the usual choices.
Tell us about your bespoke beers
We try to brew beers for venues that relate to them in some way, so for Camp &
Furnace we brewed Brown Bear, a beer made with honey from bees from Wirral.
We also smoke the malt using the same wood that the venue burns in the Furnace.
We’ve recently launched Organo for The Kazimier – it’s an English pale ale made with herbs including camomile and woodruff, designed to evoke an English country garden. We also made a beer for Threshold Festival that sold out in two days.
Craft/real, cask/keg – discuss
There’s an implication that craft beer is posh, expensive and doesn’t count as real ale – CAMRA seems to think that craft beer, produced in kegs, is inferior to real ale, which is produced in casks, but lots of brewers are finding that you can brew great quality beers in a keg.
We make cask and keg beers, but I honestly don’t believe most drinkers care how it’s dispensed. When people hear keg they think of gassy lagers, but the only difference to cask is that it’s pressurised.
We had the Liverpool Craft Beer Expo at Camp & Furnace this Summer and our range of beers changed a little, with some new brews, including a rye pale ale and a black IPA. We’ll also be opening up the brewery (in a railway arch north of the city centre) to tours and selling our beers direct.
Buy Liverpool Craft Beer from The Caledonia, Camp & Furnace, The Kazimier
and The Clove Hitch.
Images by Pete Carr