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The Blog

Horsing around with Ebony Horse Club

Horsing around with Ebony Horse Club

We’ve teamed up with the amazing Brixton-based charity Ebony Horse Club to offer you the chance to win a riding lesson and a case of Brixton Brewery beer!

On Monday 29th March at 5pm they’ll be taking over our Instagram Live, to give our followers a tour of the club, an introduction to their fabulous horses and to announce the winner of the competition!

For your chance to WIN, we’re asking you to get creative and bring to life a scene featuring your favourite Ebony horse, out and about in Brixton. You can use whatever medium you like best (drawing, collage, poetry?!) – all you have to do to enter is share your submission on Instagram and tag @brixtonbrewery and @ebonyhorseclubbrixton.

To get you inspired, Ebony Horse Club have kindly provided some dating profiles info about each of their gorgeous, personality-filled horses. We’d swipe right for any one of them!

Splash

The ultimate lad, the way to his heart really is through is belly. Give him some hay and he will be yours for …five minutes. He is a charmer but don’t expect any manners from him, he would trot straight through to you get to the nearest carrot. Splash is a bit of a celeb though and always makes sure he is poised for a photo shoot.

Two truths and one lie:

Splash has appeared on Blue Peter, Splash has attended a royal garden party, Splash has a Brixton Brewery Beer named after him.

Eddie

Good looking and he knows it. He is the leader of the pack and wants you to believe all he really cares about is hanging out with the lads. But, get him on his own and he will show you his sensitive side, he loves nothing more than a nuzzle with his huge moustache.

Likes: Eating hay with his mates down the paddock

Dislikes: Losing in a fist/hoof fight.

Poppet

Looks can be deceiving. The cutest little equine on the block, measuring the height of just 6 pint glasses. He might look small but what he lacks in height he makes up for in character.  What Poppet wants, Poppet gets.  

Rose

The real life unicorn.  We are not quite sure this mystical beast ended up in Brixton but she has been gracing us with her presence and sparkle since 2020. Time spent with Rose would involve her checking her hair in the mirror and making sure her unicorn horn is selfie ready.

Nick names: The Princess, Princess Rose, Rose the Princess

Joe

Joe looks like a horse and a panda combined with his big black eyes. The sensitive soul of the group, expect to find him to crying about this year’s hay shortage and hiding from the alpha males behind a tree. He might be the biggest horse in Brixton but he is the biggest wimp too.

Fun fact: Joe once tried to eat a piece of tinsel but then got so scared he weed himself. 

Blossom

Blossom by name and Blossom by nature. This one is sweet as the come, charming humans all over town with her two tone mane and her eye lashes to die for. With a face made for Instagram she is living her best horsey life as the urban equine to follow.

Bucket list: To gallop through the waves of the sea on a beach in Bali.

Bailey

Named after the Irish tipple and he will make you just as giddy. Bailey is part puppy, part horse. Loves to put anything in his mouth including broom handles, human fingers and coffee, so expect him to slobber all over you.

Best friend: Poppet, the miniature pony who will act as his bodyguard wherever he goes.

Molly

She is as cool as a pint of Electric IPA.  The leader of the girl gang, Regina George has nothing on her. With her fetch mane blowing in the wind she literally begs for attention – and treats. The sassiest mare this side of the Thames.

Favourite food: anything fed to her by her human subordinates.

About Ebony Horse Club: Our mission is to use horses to raise the education, life skills, wellbeing and aspirations of young people from disadvantaged communities within Lambeth. At Ebony we believe that the opportunities you’re given shouldn’t be limited by the postcode you are brought up in, so in 2011 we built our centre right in the heart of South London, Brixton. Just a stone’s throw from the famous ‘Electric Avenue’ and buzzing Brixton Market, you’ll find our stables nestled right between tower blocks and overground lines. Click here to learn more / donate.

Our next chapter

Our next chapter

When we look back over the past seven years, we honestly can’t believe how far we’ve come – from homebrewing to launching a small brewery, to building a highly recognisable community-based brand, with a larger new brewery and taproom. It makes us want to dream even bigger for the next seven. To realise our original vision of helping thirsty people everywhere get a taste of Brixton, we’re today announcing that, following a successful three years’ working with the global brewers, Heineken, we are expanding this partnership in a deal that will see Heineken fully acquire Brixton Brewery.

This will mean a bright future for our community-based business. The founders of Brixton Brewery will continue to lead the brewery’s day-to-day operations and strategic and creative direction. In other words, we will still be smashing out your favourite beers fresh from South London, brewed by the same bunch of eccentric beer visionaries and inspired by the flavours of Brixton.  

Brixton Brewery was started in a railway arch in 2013 by two couples who met in a Brixton bar. Jez and Libby and Mike and Xochitl worked hard to build a successful brewery and sustainable local business in the heart of Brixton. We started out with one employee and one brewery, making most of our deliveries on foot in and around Brixton Market. In 2017 a minority investment by Heineken meant that we could expand to a purpose-built brewery, remain in Brixton, and create a tap room and experimental brewery in our original railway arch home on Brixton Station Road, where we welcome the public for a taste of our beers, and a look at how we brew.

Our team now includes 25 talented and dedicated people. We are a proud London Living Wage employer and members of the Living Wage Foundation. We love being a positive part of Brixton through numerous partnerships, collaborations, and support for local organisations.

Our growth and expansion are a source of huge pride to us – we’ve always been ambitious for our team and for our business. Over the past three years of working together, we’ve built a strong relationship with Heineken, who share our commitment to quality and responsibility. We have benefited from the Heineken team’s expertise and market reach, and we want to build on it. There’s no denying the fact that the next few years will be challenging for many reasons, so we’re happy to have the opportunity to secure the future of Brixton Brewery for our team, our families, our community and fans of our beers, who’ve been hugely supportive of our success. The industry has changed massively since we started, and we want nothing more than to continue to be a positive part of it.   

We look forward to this next chapter. Our beers will be increasingly available UK-wide, we will continue to strengthen our approach to community and sustainability and we will keep on investing in Brixton through our brewery, taproom and newly renovated experimental brewery. We are committed to creating and sustaining good jobs in Brixton, and hiring a diverse range of people who love beer and Brixton as much as we do.

We want to thank everyone who has supported us so far. We are both humble and proud to be a local success story made in Brixton. Feel free to sit back, relax with a cold can, and see what we brew next.  

Love,

Team BB

Characters of Coldharbour Lane wins Guild of British Beer Writers Award

Characters of Coldharbour Lane wins Guild of British Beer Writers Award

We are absolutely thrilled to have won the title of Best Corporate Communications at the Guild of British Beer Writer Awards 2020 for our Characters of Coldharbour series.

The Guild of British Beer Writers is the organisation for beer communicators and represents some incredible talent. We highly recommend having a look at the list of nominees on the Guild website and checking out their work if you love great writing. 

If you’re a regular reader of our blog you probably saw some of the content from our series here over the summer. We highlighted some of the people and businesses along Brixton’s Coldharbour Lane, namesake and inspiration for our popular Coldharbour Larger.

The series featured portraits by local up-and-coming photographer Amari James, paying homage to some of the people who have made the street what it is today. From the architect of the building sometimes mistaken for Brixton Prison (which also inspired the zigzag pattern on the Coldharbour Lager cans) to the chip shop famous for its live DJs, Characters of Coldbarbour Lane was a celebration of a slice of time along this buzzing Brixton thoroughfare.

“We spoke to people who represent both ‘old’ and ‘new’ Brixton. Some who are running family businesses that have been on the street since the 1950s, and others more recently arrived. Despite their different stories, what struck us was how much everyone had in common: a deep respect for the local area, and a desire to serve their community as best they can. We also wanted to shine a light on businesses as they reopen after lockdown and the famous Brixton streetlife returns.” – Jez Galaun, Co-founder of Brixton Brewery

The photographs and interviews from the campaign were featured on our social media channels, and brought to life in print by Posterzine. The photographs are also on display Brixton Brewery Taproom (Arch 548 Brixton Station Rd, Brixton, London SW9 8PF).

Read the interviews here:

Brixton’s hip hop chip shop

Brixton’s hip hop chip shop

Chip Shop is based at 378 Coldharbour Lane, right at the point where the street crosses over Brixton’s bustling Atlantic Road. Its walls are spray-painted with the larger-than-life faces of some of hip hop’s biggest names: 2Pac, Biggie Smalls, Eazy-E and more. Why? Brainchild of MICHAEL LYTHGOE and partner CIDALIA RODRIGUEZ, the unconventional restaurant brings together their two great loves- fish and chips, and hip hop. A curious combination, that absolutely works.

As part of our Characters of Coldharbour Lane series celebrating the people behind the street that inspired Coldharbour Lager, we met with Cid to talk about her time in Brixton.

Q: Can you explain the concept behind Chip Shop, and how it came about?

My partner Michael is from Liverpool so he grew up eating fish and chips, plus he loves hip hop, so he wanted to open a business that combined his two passions. We do fish and chips, but we’re also famous for our music events. We’ve had very famous rappers in here performing: Klashnekoff, Ice T, loads. We had Cormega for our first event, and then people just started contacting us about performing here. We have capacity for 100 people – so when we have these big celebrities it creates a really exciting, intimate vibe. People go crazy, standing on the bar; it gives everyone goosebumps.

It’s not all about the celebrities though. We also do open mic nights which are great too. We’ve had people from Italy, Spain, rapping in Italian. We get lots of local young kids performing too, there’s so much talent in Brixton.

Q: How long have you been based in Brixton?

I’m originally from Portugal but I came over 30 years ago and since then I’ve always been in Brixton- I love it! There were five of us at home, all the same age, and it was just getting too much for our parents. My brother had already come to London to work and he suggested I come over too, so I did and I never left! I’ve lived here longer than in Portugal now and I feel like a Londoner. My children were born here. We just go back to Portugal once in a while for a holiday.

Q: What is it that you love about Brixton?

You can get anything here. Chinese, Polish, Portuguese. The market is full of fresh meat and fresh fish and it’s great quality- being Portuguese we love that.

Q: What about Coldharbour Lane itself? Has it changed a lot over the years?

I remember when I first came here there was barely anything in the market and lots of the road was boarded up. Then everything just exploded. To me, maybe because I’m a business owner, I think it has moved in a good way. People are safer and it’s thriving now. All of my staff, my meat, fish and vegetables are from Brixton- so we’re giving back to the community and supporting other local businesses. I know that people complain but we’re bringing awareness to Brixton, bringing people and money here.

Q: What beers do you serve?

We try to link our beers to the hiphop we play so we have one from Brooklyn, one from Chicago; but we wanted to support a local brand too so we’ve stocked Brixton Brewery ever since we opened. We even use it for the fish batter! It’s delicious.

Q: How has COVID impacted your business?

We used lockdown to fix up some stuff, paint the floor and all that. And we were on Deliveroo which kept me busy! Now that we’ve reopened it’s obviously different. We’re not doing events so it’s not as crazy before but that’s okay. Because we can’t have that many customers inside now you can connect more with all the people who come in, which is really nice.

Portraits from our Characters of Coldharbour Lane series will be on display at the Brixton Brewery Tap Room from 23rd September – 7th October or you can see them as they drop on Instagram @brixtonbrewery. Look for Coldharbour Lager at bars and bottle shops throughout London and beyond (or shop via our website here). Grab one and take refuge from thirst 

“I consider myself a custodian for this moment in time”

“I consider myself a custodian for this moment in time”

Walton Lodge is a beautiful red-brick Edwardian building which was built in 1904 to house a then-thriving family-run laundry business. After almost 120 years the laundry finally closed, but the building itself still stands proud at 374 Coldharbour Lane- only now it houses an all day bistro and wine shop run by New Zealand-born MELANIE BROWN. We went to visit Mel at The Laundry to talk about her time in Brixton so far, and what she’s doing to try and preserve the legacy of this amazing building.

Q: We’re a long way from New Zealand! How did you end up becoming a business owner here in the UK?

When I was 15 I dropped out of school. Even at that age I just knew that the hospitality scene was far more my bag than anything else, and I trained to be a chef instead of going to university.

Eventually I moved to London to work in the restaurant industry. Brixton captivated me immediately because it has such a dynamic cultural presence. I think it’s like nowhere else in London and when I moved South of the river I always knew I wanted to be part of the community here one day.

Then when Pop Brixton started I jumped at the opportunity to open a New World wine bar and shop there, which we crowdfunded to build.

Q: How did you come to be the custodian of Walton Lodge?

I used to drive past Walton Lodge every day on my way into work at Pop Brixton and I found myself drawn to it straight away. I thought that such a beautiful building deserved for somebody to do something amazing with it. So I’d been driving past it for about three or four years, totally captivated by it, and then I heard that the landlord was opening up discussions.

There were a massive number of people that were interested but I think the landlord was supportive of my application because he really wanted an independent business in the building rather than a big chain; and he knew what I’ve done in Brixton before so he trusted that Walton Lodge would be safe in my hands.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about the building?

The Newland family owned and ran Walton Lodge as a laundry for 119 years. They also had satellites throughout South London and would wash all the linen for the big hotels in Park Lane. It must have been an huge operation for many years but in 2014 they couldn’t sustain it any more so they closed the doors. That’s when our landlord purchased and renovated the building.       

When I started digging into the history of Coldharbour Lane and the building and the people it really resonated with me. History and provenance has always been a strong love of mine and this building has so much of that.

I consider myself a custodian of the building for this moment in time and I hope I do everything that I can do to preserve its integtrity and the story within it.

There’s just this overwhelming energy about the building and I think that’s due to the amazing business that was run here previously. How many businesses run for over 100 years? An amazing family as well, some of them have come down to eat here and they were absolutely gobsmacked when they walked in.

Q: How has the history of the building inspired you?

We’ve created a collection of wines called New Press, produced in New Zealand with a prestigious winemaker in Marlborough, and the New part of New Press is from New Zealand and the Newman family, and the Press part is linen press and grape press.

The style of our menu was also inspired by the Edwardian era (during which the laundry first opened its doors), when a new more relaxed way of eating and dining with lots of sharing and platters was introduced by King William VII to the UK.

So we’ve created a menu of dishes designed to share. It’s all about the casual excellence of hospitality.

Q: How has COVID impacted your business?

The first few months were great, we were very busy over Christmas time, and everything had been going really well. Then COVID hit. Out of the blue, we were closed for three months.

We managed to pivot the business when we were able to reopen as a general store. It was a great way for us to try to reconnect with the community and think about how we could best support them in this crisis. We used that time to develop a reopening strategy with our locals in mind- they’re the people that sustain and drive us.

It’s been great to see it so busy again since we’ve reopened. We’re fortunate to have this prime position on Coldharbour Lane, and it’s helped that we have the terrace with plenty of outdoor seating.

Q: What do you think of Coldharbour Lager?

As a business on Coldharbour Lane, we couldn’t not stock Coldharbour Lager- we love everything about it! It’s fresh, bright, thirst-quenchingly delicious. Everyone loves it!

Portraits from our Characters of Coldharbour Lane series will be on display at the Brixton Brewery Tap Room from 23rd September or you can see them as they drop on Instagram @brixtonbrewery. Look for Coldharbour Lager at bars and bottle shops throughout London and beyond (or shop via our website here). Grab one and take refuge from thirst