The story of Lab Culture’s inception is somewhat different to that of your standard brewery. Started by the Astwood Group, an environmental consultancy business based in Worcestershire, Lab Culture was initially set up a science experiment in 2018.
Astwood had successfully run a vertical farm for a number of years; a method of growing and harvesting crops 365 days a year, without having to rely on rain, sunshine, fluctuating temperatures, or large areas of arable land in order to grow produce.
The biggest problem they faced in trying to make this method of farming as sustainable as possible? Excess heat from LED lighting. The solution? To start a brewery.
Nestled in the corner of the same unit as the vertical farm is a 10HL brewhouse dedicated to producing American-style craft beers. Jack Gooch, one of Lab Culture’s 3 full-time employees tells us a bit more;
“Our beer is different from others commonly available on the market… not only is the range delicious, but we also do as much as humanly possible to reduce our impact on the environment. This ethos is at the core of everything we do and means we are 100% eco and vegan-friendly.”
The brewery utilises the farm’s waste heat within its brewing processes but their innovations don’t stop there. The brewery is able to use outputs of the farm in its recipes too. The basil used in their Basil and Lime Saison, for example, was harvested on site just 10 minutes before being added to the brew.
Although Lab Culture’s original ambitions were sustainability-led, the team are equally committed to producing the best beer possible. This week’s beer, a Rye IPA, epitomises this non-compromising approach.
The eagle eyed amongst you will notice that your beer is either named Alebert Einstein or Alefred Nobel. Don’t panic. The contents are exactly the same. However, after running into a bit of trouble with Einstein’s estate, the brew team were encouraged to change the name as quickly as possible.
Jack talks us through what to expect from the beer;
“Alebert Einstein / Alefred Nobel is a low ABV India Pale Ale brewed with rye to give a spiced and nutty undertone. You'll find grapefruit and pine aromas alongside a fruity and floral taste. It’s unfined, unfiltered, vegan friendly and one of the best beers we’ve brewed to date.”
Aside from expanding their own brewery, Lab Culture have big plans for the future. Education around their processes, sustainability and innovation is at the forefront of how they plan to grow. Whilst they are bound to make a few mistakes along the way, as Albert Einstein once said, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.''