Everything is going to change for us in the next year, so we thought it was the right time to tell our story so far. We're opening our Crowdfunding in a few weeks, so sign up for updates here now!
Everyone looks at us in surprise when we tell the origin story of Verdant. First up it involves more football than you might expect, but more importantly it happened a lot more recently than most people realise.
To be fair, it surprises us too. It feels like a decade ago that we were homebrewing in Adam’s basement. What started as a conversation between James and Adam during a (very casual) game of football has taken just four years to become a very small but perfectly formed brewery.
That original conversation about homebrewing led to brewing at Adam’s house on a fairly regular basis. Both had been brewing independently for a few years, but with James being an avid reader and Adam’s get-stuff-done approach we started making very drinkable, modern beer pretty quickly. But it didn’t really start happening until we took a few bottles of our Pliny clone on a night out at Small Bar in Bristol. We pressed it onto the bar staff and, after a few drinks, kind of bullied them into trying it in front of us. It probably happens all the time at a place like Small Bar, so they must have been relieved to actually like it. In fact, they said it was delicious, and that if we ever produced a professional beer they would buy it.
That conversation, and several after that as we got our shit together, gave us the confidence to rent a shipping container and turn it into a brewery. It was there that we invented many of beers we still brew today – Lightbulb, Bloom and Pulp were all born there – but it was Headband that we nailed quickest and sent off to Small Bar as our first order.
In the shipping container we moved on from brewing clones of west coast styles. James had seen a small brewery in Massachusetts spring up and start producing intentionally hazy IPAs.The instagrams were causing a stir (remember when haze was looked down upon?!) and the flavours caught his imagination – stone fruits, over-ripe mango, pineapple. And so we started experimenting with this style of beer, pitching New England style yeasts, hopping during active fermentation and playing with the water profiles to create plenty of body. We were also using absurd amounts of hops for home brewers, only partly because James had got over excited and ordered 5kg bags. Many nights were spent repacking them into manageable sizes Adam’s dining room.
We made a lot of brewing mistakes back then but through complete accident we got our timing right. It was 2015 and hazy New England beer was just about to kick off in the UK, but we already had years of experimenting with the style under our belts. We had always wondered where the demand was going to come from with Cornwall being a few years behind most of the scene, so it was really exciting to see beers like Roy I Want A Hilux and Headband get such positive responses and for demand to come from all over the country.
We grew quickly from there, going from £120-a-month rent on the container to the beautiful blue warehouse we’re in now, where we currently release around 3,000hl of beer every year. The vast majority of our beer is “exported” out of Cornwall, but that is starting to change as we increase our focus on local pubs and bottle shops. Being so far out of the way in Cornwall is extremely hard for a brewery reliant on serving its beer fresh, but we love where we live and we feel we have something important to offer the local market.
The plan behind the brewery was always to experiment and grow, inspired by the amazing hazy beers we’d seen on Instagram. But what we think is often underplayed is our love of the traditional cask beers that form the drinking culture of Cornwall. We may love our big DIPAs, but when we go out for beers we never skip the few pints of sessionable cask ale. That’s where beers like Lightbulb and Headband come from, with their obvious modern influences. A lot of people talk about the bubble bursting, but we see it getting bigger and taking in those who love a pint and those who love drinking from a Tekku. A bright future from craft beer means being more inclusive of all styles and tastes, both for brewers and drinkers.
We are about to embark on the biggest adventure in Verdant’s history, launching a crowdfunder to finance a new site in Falmouth where we can quadruple in size. That means we’ll finally be able to satisfy the demand for our beer around the UK, while ensuring everyone on the Falmouth quay who wants a pint of Lightbulb can get one.
Details of our crowdfunder will be released really soon, so sign up for updates here now!
Or simply email us for more details by emailing us at email@example.com