If you’re trying to set up a new brewery in the Big Smoke, finding an affordable space to plonk your kit is the number one challenge. With even railway arches now off-limits to many start-up brewers, three home-brewing friends, Andreas, Fredrik and Steve, had to be a bit more creative when scouting locations for a new brewery.
“Andreas and I are photographers with a studio space near Dalston Junction and in 2014 our landlord offered us a space in the carpark behind the studio to brew beer” explains Steve. “We started with two second-hand 20FT shipping containers in Spring 2015 and poured our first beer on 1st May 2015”.
Today 40FT Brewery employs 4 people full-time with 4 additional part-time staff. Steve Ryan is the CEO running the day to day of the business and heading up sales.
“We have grown slowly and organically over our first four years but this year we took on an expansion project which in comparison to other breweries is quite small but was considerable for us, adding more shipping containers like heavy-duty Lego we expanded production and added a dedicated taproom which we is now open to the public Thursdays - Sundays”.
The idea of going for a few beers in a shipping container on a Friday night might not sound like an appealing prospect, but Steve and his team make incredible use of the space and are rightly proud of a taproom that is very much at the heart of their community.
“We are based in the most diverse borough in the UK and as we ourselves are immigrants, we love to celebrate cultures around us and regularly host events at our brewery that explore the culture, food and heritage of the communities around us. For each event, we make a beer using an ingredient or beer style enjoyed by that community” Steve explains.
40FT originally launched with two flagship beers, Larger & Päle.
“Our Director of Brewing, Ben Ott (formerly London Fields and Truman’s Brewery), is from Cologne, home of Kölsch, and so Larger was his version of a Kölsch style beer that's larger than a lager. People think we can't spell!” laughs Steve.
“Päle is an American Pale Ale that we home-brewed in back in London Fields. Ben took it to the next level but we put a Swedish umlaut on the "a" as a nod to Andreas and Fredrik's Swedish roots. Golden Promise, Cara Malt and Rye give it a sweet malt forward flavour. It has the most hops of any of our beers including Target (UK), Sovereign (UK), Cascade (US), Mosaic (US) and Rakau (NZ). The British hops are for bitterness and the U.S and N.Z are for aroma. We want to make good beer for drinking and so all our beers are between 4% - 5%. At just 4.1% this beer aims to deliver a full flavour of hops that wrap around your mouth and linger on your tongue with a bitterness that brings you back for more”.