Fourpure has announced plans for an ambitious collaboration project which will see it work with brewers from around the world in May.
The Bermondsey company, which unveiled its new £2.5m brewery yesterday, will collaborate with brewers from six continents, including Belgium’s De La Senne, Australia’s Two Birds, the USA’s Melvin and Japan’s Hitachino Nest, according to co-founder Daniel Lowe.
Lowe said the idea predated the similar Fuller’s and Friends project – which saw Fuller’s collaborated on seven beers with British craft brewers, including Fourpure, in 2017 – but it had been tweaked in response. 'We’ve changed it because we didn’t want it to seem "me too",' he said.
Plans are still being ironed out – it has not been decided which format the beers will be released in – but there will be simultaneous cross-continent brews: the Two Birds collaboration will be brewed at the same time in Australia and London, for example, during Melbourne’s Good Beer Week. The beers will be released in June. 'It will interesting and fun,' Lowe, who founded the brewery with brother Tom, said.
It’s a project that Lowe hopes will help to change perceptions of Fourpure, which was founded in 2013. The brewery is known for quality and consistency, but it is also innovative, Lowe insists, citing the fact that 54 different beers were made last year and more than 60 are slated for 2018. Seven were released for yesterday's brewery launch, including Easy Peeler Citrus Session IPA and Raspberry and Chocolate Imperial Porter.
The 40-hectolitre brewkit, which was made by German manufacturer GEA, will allow Fourpure to be more expansive, while new environmentally-friendly can labels will mean more beer goes into small pack.
'Some people see us as a pedestrian brewery,' he said. 'I’m excited that more people are going to get the opportunity to try our one-off beers, and I hope what we’re able to do on this new kit will bring the wider perception of Fourpure beers closer to the truth.'
The brewery’s capacity is now 80,000 hectolitres a year – four times what it was – making it the second biggest independent brewery by capacity in London, after Fuller’s. 35,000 hectolitres will be brewed this year.
The new brewkit has been in use since December and head brewer John Driebergen is excited by what he has seen. 'The flavour and aroma of the beers is going to be so much better, so much cleaner,' he said.
'We have a deserved reputation for quality but I don’t think we always hit the high notes on the old kit – now we can be much more consistent.' Driebergen believes the hoppy Session IPA, the brewery’s best-seller which makes up 60% of production alongside Pils, will benefit the most from this new system.
Fourpure has also invested in 12 new fermenting vessels, two grain silos and a grain mill alongside the new brewkit. It’s the final piece in the jigsaw, according to Lowe – although the brewery still plans to move to a new site within five years.
'We don’t want to be the biggest brewery in the world; I want to be a brewery that is big enough to be able to afford the right equipment and have the time to produce the best beer, that doesn’t have to worry "can we afford this?"' Lowe sais. 'It is really difficult to produce good-quality, consistent beer if you are strapped for cash.'
The new brewery should see more beer leave the capital, although Fourpure’s focus remains on its south-east London base, where between 30 and 40% of production is sold. 'We want to continue to grow in south-east London, and then London, and then go out from there in concentric circles,' says Driebergen.
One exciting prospect on the horizon is the release of some wood-aged sours, which have been sitting in barrels for two years. Driebergen expects this to happen in the autumn. 'They’re tasting good,' he says.