Hop Stuff Brewery, Arsenal Pale Ale
James Yeomans gave up a career in the financial sector to launch The Hop Stuff Brewery at 7 Gunnery Terrace, Royal Arsenal (Woolwich) in September 2013. “Because when you die, they’re not going to etch on your tombstone Was Fucking Good at Excel” he laughs.
Woolwich would turn out to be a good spot to plonk themselves. London now has over 80 commercial breweries, but this part of town, Meantime Brewing aside, is still quiet when it comes to craft breweries. “We live right here on the Royal Arsenal” James explains. “It’s a wonderful and diverse part of London, steeped in history and the area is really gathering pace with a revival. We saw the opportunity in the redevelopment of the Arsenal and surrounding area”.
Since selling their first pint at the Dial Arch Pub in Woolwich, the locals have taken the brewery to their heart and even plumped up the best part of £60k in Hop Stuff’s first crowdfunding attempt. New fermentation vessels quickly followed, as did the brewery’s own taproom; a great spot to grab a decent beer and some sourdough pizza south of the river.
Such was their progress on a shoestring budget, at the tail end of 2016 Hop Stuff crowdfunded again. Only this time the numbers involved were a bit bigger. They raised a grand total of £750k on Crowdcube. The bank agreed to match it. And so 2017 has been a busy year so far for James and the team. A new brewhouse is being built. New bars are almost ready. The team has grown to 22 people and now includes Andrew Dickson, formerly Head Brewer at Meantime Brewery, who joined in February to oversee expansion. A canning line has been installed and a new range of cans launched to great acclaim both in the UK and overseas, as they’ve recently started exporting for the first time.
“The Arsenal Pale Ale is inspired by US road trips and holiday memories. Our glass of America right here on the Arsenal. Massive citrus and tropical fruit hops. A low ABV, high flavour beer that is light and drinkable. It’s a genuine American Pale Ale with all five hops coming from the States. We think it’ll please anyone from connoisseurs to craft beer newcomers”.
And that, really, is what Hop Stuff are all about as Doug, their marketing guru, sums up - “Craft beer ought to be for everyone, whether it’s a craft aficionado, a ‘pint of lager’ bloke, or my sweet old grandma. We take the beer seriously, but never ourselves too seriously. We have fun bringing people together with flavoursome but drinkable craft beer”.