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Lockdown Reflections

Lockdown Reflections

Is anyone else struggling to believe that it’s already July? According to this cool interactive article that was trending on Twitter earlier this week, it’s new experiences that create memories, and help our brains to process the passing of time. Since there’s not been much of that going on lately, no wonder it feels like the last few months have flown by- even though many of us have experienced more prolonged boredom than we thought possible in our adult lives…

Our hearts go out to the many families who have suffered losses and we know that this situation is far from over. Nonetheless, the tentative reopening of hospitality last weekend was undoubtedly a milestone. So this feels like a good moment to pause and reflect on everything that’s been going on at the brewery over the last few months.

When lockdown first kicked in many of us were saying things like “see you in April!” and “let’s just wait a few weeks and see how things are”. Of course, it didn’t take long for us to realise that lockdown wasn’t something we could just wait out until things got back to normal. We were going to need to adapt, and make some difficult decisions. We made the call to put members of staff on furlough, and sadly had to destroy a lot of kegged beer which couldn’t be sold while pubs were still closed. We continued brewing, but much less often. We know that we’ve been incredibly lucky to have the full support of our partners at Heineken during this time, helping to keep Jez, Mike, Libby & Xochitl’s stress levels (reasonably) under control.

Like so many London breweries we found purpose by focusing on ways we could help and support our community: we sent beer to NHS workers, donated £1280 of proceeds from our t-shirt and brewer’s yeast sales to Brixton Foodbank and sponsored some amazing virtual live music. We also created a colouring competition to help those isolating kill some time and were absolutely blown away by the response. More than anything we’ve been deeply grateful for the orders coming in through our webshop which have meant we’ve been able to continue getting our beer out there– it’s genuinely meant the world to us.

We are incredibly proud of our entire team who have shown amazing resilience and dedication throughout this time. What felt like bad timing, but actually ended up being good timing, was that our new Brand Marketing Manager (Sophie) and Graphic Designer (Ellie) both joined the business at the very start of lockdown. In a period when people have been more available than ever to engage with us online, this has meant that we’ve been able to focus on creating great content and initiatives to keep conversations going with our drinkers, when doing so IRL has been impossible.

And despite the incredible difficulties faced by the trade we’ve been amazed by how supportive everyone has been of each other and by the many creative ways that our customers adapted their businesses during lockdown- turning bars into delis, takeaway restaurants and bottle shops. It has been a great opportunity for us to build some new relationships and strengthen old ones.

We absolutely loved seeing bars and restaurants starting to reopen last weekend- it feels like Brixton is finally getting its groove back. For now we have made the decision to keep our taproom operating a takeaway only service since we don’t feel that we have the space to implement social distancing effectively inside- but even so it’s been amazing to see so many of you pop in for a takeaway pint (or to grab a mini-keg en route to the park).

We will continue to take things slowly as everyone gets a feel for the best way to enjoy our new freedoms responsibly, but we have plenty of cool plans in the works so stay tuned for some news in the coming weeks!

In the meantime, thanks again to everyone who has been on this journey with us. Stay awesome!

Love Team BB x

Design Your Own Beer competition results!

Design Your Own Beer competition results!

When we launched our Design Your Own Beer competition, we were in the first surreal week of lockdown and we thought people might welcome a little distraction from everything going on around us. We often get asked about our colourful and distinctive labels inspired by the normally colourful and buzzing Brixton (it’ll be back one day soon!) and we were excited to see what people would come up with on their own.  

We invited people to download our beer label template, come up with a creative name and get colouring in! To say we’ve been absolutely blown away by the imagination, the effort and the all-around care that went into the submissions would be an understatement. We’ve loved each and every one – from the most professional to the crayon and stick figures – we salute them all. Some people wrote to tell us the story behind their design, others let the artwork speak for itself. There were lots of tributes to key workers and to Brixton. Some took our existing labels as inspiration, and others went gloriously off in their own direction.  

Our initial plan was to pick a winner and send them a case of beer, but when it came to judging, we realised that choosing just one would be impossible. So we’ve decided to pick four winners and a swathe of runners up – and all will have prizes! Our overall winner will receive 24 beers, each category winner will receive 12 beers and we’ve got keyrings and pins for all of our runners up. So, without further ado…

OVERALL WINNER: Nathan Reed, Clap Your Hands

Beer Design Winner

COLOURED BY HAND WINNER: Josh Kerry, Bricktop
Runners Up: @Char_br0iled, Stay At Home Brew and @tunsofbeer, Recharge

LOCKDOWN LIFE THEME WINNER: Emma Hayes, Stockpiling
Runners Up: @julia_peculiar_, The Staying Inn and Stewart Kerr, National Hero Special

PEOPLE’S CHOICE WINNER: Luke Fuller, Two Meter-You

And some more of our favourites.. there were so many good ones!

Thank you everyone who took the time to enter; it’s definitely brightened up our lockdown, and hopefully yours too. Stay safe! Love, Team BB 

We’re raising funds while you raise bread!

We’re raising funds while you raise bread!

In what we hope is exciting news for all you home bakers out there, we have decided to make our own supply of brewer’s yeast available to buy on our webshop!

The coronavirus lockdown has had many unforeseen consequences. Maybe one of the less expected has been a national shortage of yeast, which has prevented many of us from being able to perfect our bread-making skills while we have the time.

When we heard this news (then confirmed the absence of dried yeast in all our local shops!) we knew that we had to do something to help. We checked our stock of brewer’s yeast and realised that we had enough to spare, and decided to make some available to buy on our website. We really hope that by doing this more people will be able to indulge in the joys of home bread-making and that we can raise some additional funds for Norwood & Brixton Foodbank while we’re at it.

You can head to our webshop to buy the yeast in 30g sachets (enough for 6-8 loaves) for £5 including postage. All profits are being donated directly to the foodbank.

We’re also including an easy-to-follow recipe for home-made bread with every order, including some tips and tricks from our two resident baking experts – delivery driver Roberto (the acknowledged Master) and brewer Francesco. Although not exactly the same as the dried yeast sold in supermarkets (both are Saccharomyces cerevisiae), brewing yeast works well in most bread recipes. Yeast is yeast, you might say.

Our first attempt turned out pretty well!

 So get baking! And don’t forget to tag us in your baking pics @Brixtonbrewery

PS: We are still donating £5 from all Brixton Brewery T-shirt sales to Norwood & Brixton Foodbank- just FYI in case baking isn’t your thing!

PPS: For more information about the foodbank, including how to donate directly, and what items are critically needed, head to their website: https://norwoodbrixton.foodbank.org.uk/

Starting a new job during the lockdown

Starting a new job during the lockdown

Monday 23rd March 2020 was a pretty significant day for two reasons. First of all, it was the day that the British government announced a full lockdown in order to flatten the alarmingly un-flat curve of coronavirus spread. And secondly, (though perhaps not so significantly for the rest of you), it was also the first day of my new job, as Brixton’s Brand Marketing Manager. Ah, timing!

As a long-time from-afar Brixton Brewery fan, I am so excited to be joining the family. And it must be said that I am also grateful to be embarking on a job that I can feasibly do from the comfort of my living room, to give me some purpose during this strange time. I know that many others, particularly in the drinks & hospitality industry are not so fortunate. So this is not a sob story by any means, but starting a new job in a lockdown… it’s definitely been weird.

Fortunately we had the foresight to predict that this might happen so the week before I was due to start I went to the brewery to pick up a new laptop, make a few cursory introductions (from a safe distance!) and of course, take home as much beer as I could carry.

But so many of the usual things that you’d do when you start a job simply aren’t possible when you aren’t allowed to leave your house. No welcome lunch with the team, no opportunity to shadow colleagues and learn more about their roles, no chance even to sit quietly in an office, pretending to be reading old powerpoint decks whilst actually eavesdropping on the chatter going on around you, soaking it all in to get a feel for the vibe of the place and the people. This stuff might sound trivial, but as a marketeer I’ve always found that it’s all these tangible and intangible somethings that reveal the magic behind a brand you’re getting to know.

Thank goodness for virtual meetings! I’m so grateful that we live in a time when, despite being confined to our own homes, I can at least still let the faces of my new colleagues into my living room, to pick their brains and start piecing things together. We even had a virtual pint together on Friday! The stuttering pictures and dodgy audio are all worth it: slowly but surely, I’m going to get to know everyone.

And there are some positives: events are cancelled, bars are closed – (which sucks of course!) but it also means that there is more time than usual for thinking, researching and planning ahead. With everyone working from home, social media use is through the roof, so this is the perfect time to build community online. And as for the community of Brixton, I might not be able to pop over and say hi, but so many people are doing so much to look out for their friends, neighbours and those in need. It’s a source pride to be a part of this now, and to be able help the brewery continue to play its part. I’ll also be spending my time telling you more about this amazing place we get to call home and the fantastic beers that are inspired by Brixton. So stay tuned!

There’s no doubt that this is going to be a long road and there is plenty of uncertainty about what lies ahead, but I’d truly rather be here than anywhere else right now. And my goodness am I going to enjoy that first IRL pint with the team when the time finally comes!