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Adam Robertson, June 10, 2024

Lightbulb moments, 10 years in.

Filed under: Brewing Folk / Stories
Lightbulb moments, 10 years in.

Just in case you hadn’t heard, Verdant turns 10 this year. We’ve inevitably seen a lot of changes in the last decade; comings and goings, evolutions, set backs, successes…the vagaries of the industry. When you reach such a milestone, and–caught in a moment of nostalgia–begin contemplating everything that led you to this point, it’s easy to forget the things that haven’t really changed at all. The constants. The almost unseen foundations, without which you have nothing to measure change against. 

For us that’s Lightbulb. There in the beginning, it’s as strong as ever now, and while more attention-grabbing projects were rightly enjoying the limelight, Lightbulb’s quiet refinement allowed it to grow silently stronger, year after year. We don’t shout enough about this beer, but Lightbulb’s success is no accident. This kind of longevity is only achieved with an investment of the heart and mind, time and space in which to grow, and a desire to nurture.

It was this idea that prompted us to reach out to Falmouth University a few years ago in an effort to support burgeoning creative talent on the Graphic Design degree course. Back in the ‘90s, Adam and I were the students (same course although it was Falmouth College of Arts then) and benefitted from time and energy that people had invested in us. Nearly 30 years on, all too aware of the need to keep investing in creativity, we intuitively felt we should be paying something back.

As our relationship with FU has developed it’s seen us work more closely with students, setting briefs, developing ideas and giving as much access to our thoughts as we could.  We wanted them to feel what a live project feels like, as closely as possible. I don’t think we had any specific expectations when we began collaborating, but we were confident that it would be a beneficial thing for students and with the right briefs we would see some great work. We weren’t wrong.

This year we set the brief of reimagining some of our classic labels in celebration of our 10th birthday. At the same time we were also planning a special anniversary cask edition of Lightbulb. We weren’t planning for these two things to cross over but one piece of student work in particular appeared to bridge the gap. Eathan Aktion’s minimalist reinvention of the Lightbulb design stood out instantly: inspired by how tree rings signify years of growth, its ten simple gradated rings beautifully encapsulate our progression over the last decade. It is the perfect fit for our Lightbulb cask release and we are so pleased that Eathan was keen for us to use his design.

Serendipity? Sure, but these kinds of wins are what you get from a deeper plan, a longer term investment. We’re hoping that at the very least we’re contributing in some way to the creative landscape, long into the future.

So what better way to use a reimagined design than to reimagine the beer? Lightbulb in cask was one of those things we said we wouldn’t do, but here we are. We’ve said we wouldn’t do a few things over the years and sometimes, we haven’t. But on occasions we do (hum… Putty, PuTTTy). Moving to our new facility in 2019 we began to brew versions of Lightbulb we had always hoped it could be. 

So what changed in our new facility at Unit 30, I hear you ask. To be honest, Lightbulb nearly got the axe several times over the last ten years. Sometimes we loved it, whereas sometimes we were underwhelmed. It could be a bit muddled and muted, but at its best Lightbulb is crisp, dry and sings with lemon sherbet and pine sap. Something changed when we moved to Unit 30, back in 2020. It must have been the new equipment, a more precise brewhouse, taller fermenters, a centrifuge and far lower oxygen levels across the board. Basically the beer is more precise. We are more precise. The beer is now laser guided towards our goals.

We see this Cask release as a Lightbulb celebration moment, and we are thrilled to present the exact same tasty Extra Pale Ale, but with a completely new drinking experience. What to expect, you may ask? Well, the lemon sherbet notes of Lightbulb shine through atop an incredibly fluffy and smooth texture, reminiscent of the softest New England Pale Ales, crowned with a classic cask rocky white head.  Seeing Lightbulb on a hand pull is very exciting indeed. We’re really looking forward to seeing how this version will be received by the world.

Thanks to Eathan for an amazing design, to Dion Star at FU, and all the students for their hard work and commitment throughout this project. We can’t wait to get started with the next batch of 3rd year Graphic design students.

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